Catskill Mountaineer
 Home |  Catskill Mountaineer Forum |  Links |  News |  Magazine |  Email |  Books |  Hiking |  History |  Nature |  Reviews

Overlook Mountain and Echo Lake

Overlook Mountain Echo Lake

Overview of this Hike:

Distance: 9.34 miles round trip from DEC parking lot to Fire Town on Overlook Mtn Peak to Echo Lake and back to the parking lot. This hike can be reduced to 4.82 miles by skipping Echo Lake and the Ledges. 5.00 miles if you include the ledges and skip Echo Lake.
Time: Average 7.0 hours round trip
Elevation Gain: 1,378 feet from parking lot to Overlook Mtn Peak - then Descend 1,076 feet to Echo Lake.
Best Time to Hike: Anytime.
Difficulty: Easy
VO Map Trails: 50, 25, 51
Catskill Highest: #70
Peak Elevation: 3,140'
Digital Mapper: Topo Terrain Satellite
Attractions: Beautiful views from Fire Tower.
Attractions: Easy hike up groomed road to fire tower.
Attractions: Pretty view from Echo Lake.
Unattractions: Hundreds of Timber Rattlesnakes from Hotel ruins to Fire Tower.
Unattractions: 2,454' of climbing.
Unattractions: Lots of hikers.
Dangers: Timber Rattlesnakes!
Common Animals: Rattlesnakes, black bears, Coyotes, chipmunks, birds.
Risky Animals: Rattlesnakes (Very High), Bears (Moderate), Mountain Lions (none known)
Access Methods: Foot and snowshoe. Very good snowshoe trail. Good cross-country ski trail.



Maps, Profile, and GPS files

Overlook Mountain Echo Lake GPS map
Overlook Mountain Echo Lake elevation profile
Click here to download the GPS file in Garmin GDB format
Click here to download the GPS file in Garmin GPX format
Click here to download the GPS file in Garmin TEXT format




Directions to Trail Head from New York State Thruway (Easist, not the shortest):

  • GPS Coordinates to DEC Parking Lot: N42 04.267 W74 07.355 - Elevation is approximately 1,762 feet
  • Take New York State Thruway to Exit 20 (Saugerties).
  • Take a left out of the NYS Thruway entrance road.
  • Go approximately 1/2 mile
  • Take a right onto Route 212 West
  • Go approximately 10 miles to Woodstock, NY
  • When you come into the center of the village take a RIGHT onto Rock City Road.
  • Rock City Road will turn into Meads Mountain Road.
  • At the top of the hill will be a large dirt parking lot where you can park.



  • Special Circumstances about this Hike

    From the Hotel ruins up to the Overlook Mountain Peak (fire tower) there are hundreds of Timber Rattlesnakes. Be very careful! Walk up the middle of the road. Do not walk on the edge of the road. If you have children or dogs, make sure that they stay by your side. There are Timber Rattlesnakes around Echo Lake. Probably not as many as on the peak of Overlook Mountain. There are Black Bears around Echo Lake.



    Mile Stone Chart

    Mile PointAltitudeNotes
    0.001,762 DEC Parking Lot.
    1.252,580 Road Junction for loop road - Stay LEFT.
    1.832,922' Ruins of Overlook Mountain House
    WATCH FOR TIMBER RATTLESNAKES from this point forward.
    1.992,962' Trail Junction to Echo Lake. Left goes to Echo Lake. Right goes to Overlook Mtn. Go RIGHT.
    2.363,130 Range Station - Now a Volunteer Station and history center.
    2.413,140 Fire Tower on top of Overlook Mountain Peak.
    2.463,130 Return back to Ranger Station. Follow trail to the back of the Station - Follow trail to Ledge.
    Watch for Rattlesnakes on trail and ledge!
    2.553,109 Ledge on Southeast side of Overlook Mountain. Nice views of the Hudson River and Ashokan Reservoir.
    2.643,130 Return back to Range Station - Now a Volunteer Station and history center.
    3.012,962 Trail Junction to Echo Lake. Leave Road and go RIGHT.
    4.512,554 Trail Junction to Echo Lake. Straight goes to Platte Clove. Left goes to Echo Lake. Go LEFT.
    5.252,135 Echo Lake. There is a lean-to at the lake. There is a non-DEC trail around the lake.
    There are Timber Rattlesnakes and bears around the lake!
    6.032,539 Trail Junction to Plate Clove & Overlook Mtn. Left goes to Platte Clove. Right goes back to Overlook Mtn. Go RIGHT.
    7.452,948 Trail Junction. Left goes to Overlook Mtn Peak. Right goes back to parking lot. Go RIGHT.
    9.341,762 DEC Parking Lot.

    Hike to Overlook Mountain & Echo Lake

    Overlook Mountain Echo Lake
    The picture on the left is the parking lot for this hike. It is a very large parking lot, but it does fill up on a summer weekend. This is a very popular hike. This parking lot can probably hold 30 cars.

    The image on the RIGHT shows the road you will be walking up. It is a well graded road with gravel dust laid on it all the way to the top.

    At mile post 1.25 you will encounter a branch in the road. This is a loop road. Stay to the LEFT.
    Overlook Mountain Echo Lake
    Overlook Mountain Echo Lake
    At mile post 1.83, you will encounter the Picture on the LEFT is the ruins of the old Overlook Mountain House. It has a very sad history. The original owner planned on building a high quality hotel. But, it never opened. His grandson planned on finishing the hotel when he returned from WWII. But, upon returning local people had stripped the hotel of it's fixtures and the only thing left was a shell of the building.

    Note: It should be noted that at this point you will there are Timber Rattlesnakes in the area. You can sometimes find them around the hotel. They are from the hotel up to the Fire Tower. Be very careful where you walk. If you walk up the middle of the road, you will be able to avoid them. Sometimes they will be stretched across the road, or you will find the coiled up on the side of the road, or just off the road.
    Overlook Mountain House
    The picture on the LEFT is the guest house, which is behind the Overlook Mountain House.
    Overlook Mountain House
    Just beyond the Overlook Mountain House and the guest house is the water supply for the hotel.
    Overlook Mountain
    At mile post 1.99, you will encounter the trail junction in the picture. Left will take you to Echo Lake and Platte Clove. Right will take you to the peak of Overlook Mountain House and the Fire Tower. Go RIGHT up the road.
    Overlook Mountain
    At mile post 2.37, you will come to the old Ranger Station. There are now exhibits inside. There is often a volunteer on-site. If you would like to see a Rattlesnake, just ask. They usually know where one is hanging out.


    Overlook Mountain fire tower
    At mile post 2.41 you will come to the Fire Tower. You can climb the tower and see the great views from the top. You can see the Hudson River, Ashokan Reservoir, Westkill Mountains, Indian Head Mountain Range, and Overlook Mountain.

    The picture on the RIGHT is a Timber Rattlesnake that was coiled up behind a rock 15 feet away from our picnic table.
    Timber Rattlesnake
    Overlook Mountain
    Reverse your course back to the old Ranger Station. Take the trail on the right side of the Ranger Station to get out to the ledges. At mile post 2.55, you will arrive at the ledges. After enjoying the view from the ledges, reverse your course back to the Ranger Station, and go back down the road to the Trail Junction to Echo Lake.


    Overlook Mountain
    At mile post 3.01 you will come back to the Trail Junction to Echo Lake and Platte Clove. Take a RIGHT and take the path to Echo Lake.

    The picture on the RIGHT will show you what the trail is like. The trail will descend in elevation for about 1 mile before it comes to the Eastern Escarpment.

    Remember to watch for Rattlesnakes on the side of the trail for the first 1/2 mile. Rattlesnakes can be seen anywhere from the Overlook Hotel ruins to Echo Lake, so don't assume that they are no longer where you are hiking.
    Echo Lake Trail
    Echo Lake
    At mile post 4.51, you will come to the Trail Junction to Echo Lake. The picture on the left shows the sign on the left side of the trail. The picture on the right shows the sign on the right side of the path
    Overlook Mountain
    Echo Lake
    The picture on the left shows what the trail looks like as you descend down to Echo Lake. This trail is usually very wet, and can be slippery.
    Echo Lake
    At mile post 5.25, you will come to the Echo Lake Lean-To and the Echo Lake. On a nice summer weekend, this Lean-To is usually full. It is a very common camping location. We have seen up to 25 campers at this location. Most have to camp outside the Lean-To.

    There is a trail that goes around the lake. We didn't track the mileage on this trail.

    NOTE: There are Timber Rattlesnakes at Echo Lake. Black bears also like to visit the camping area.
    Echo Lake
    The picture on the left is approximately 1/2 the view of the lake. You can see the telephone tower by the ruins from the camping area.

    When you are done, reverse the course back to the parking lot. Some people like to put a second car at Platte Clove and they hike to Platte Clove instead of returning back to the Overlook Parking Lot.
    Links and References:
    CatskillMountain.com Forum - Ask questions, talk about your experience with this hike
    History on Overlook Mountain House
    Overlook Fire Tower
    NYS Forest Rangers - Very Comprehensive Site on Fire Towers

     Home |  Catskill Mountaineer Forum |  Links |  News |  Magazine |  Email |  Books |  Hiking |  History |  Nature |  Reviews
    Copyright 2001-2010 www.catskillmountaineer.com ALL RIGHTS RESERVED