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Overlook Mountain and Echo Lake

Hunter Mountain
 
 

OVERVIEW

  Distance: 9.34 miles round trip for Overlook Mtn Peak & Echo Lake. 5 miles for just Overlook Mtn.
  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
  Catskill Highest: #70
  Peak Elevation: 3,140'
   
  USGS Official Names: Overlook Mountain (ID: 959659)
  USGS Summit-Elevation: 3,136' (USGS)
  USGS Hunter-Summit-WGS84: 42.085091, -74.093195 (DEC-WGS84)
  USGS Hunter-Summit-GPS: N 42 05.105, W 74 05.592 (GPS)
  USGS Hunter-Summit-UTM: 18N 575000, 4659622 (UTM)
  USGS Hunter-Summit-Deg, Min, Sec: N42 05 06, W74 05 35 (Degree, Min, Sec)
  USGS Official Map: Woodstock Topographical Map (free)
   
  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: Rattlesnakes (Very High)
  Access Methods: Foot and snowshoe. Very good snowshoe trail. Good cross-country ski trail.
 

Maps

Overlook Mountain Echo Lake GPS map
road private and public land map
Public & Private Land Ownership around the parking lots
Red=Private Land
Green=Public Land (DEC, DEP, NYS Parks, etc)


 

DIRECTIONS TO TRAIL HEAD

 
  • DEC Parking Lot WGS84 (DEC): 42.071117, -74.122583 - Elevation is approximately 1,762 feet
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  • DEC Parking Lot Deg/Min/Sec: N42 04 16, W74 07 21 - Elevation is approximately 1,762 feet
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  • DEC Parking Lot GPS: N42 04.267, W74 07.355 - Elevation is approximately 1,762 feet
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  • DEC Parking Lot UTM: 18N 572585, 4658045 - Elevation is approximately 1,762 feet
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  • Take New York State Thruway to Exit 20 (Saugerties).
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  • Take a left out of the NYS Thruway entrance road.
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  • (IF you came south on the Thruway) Take a right onto Route 212 West
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  • Go approximately 10 miles to Woodstock, NY
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  • When you come into the center of the village take a RIGHT onto Rock City Road.
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  • Rock City Road will turn into Meads Mountain Road.
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  • When you reach the top of the hill, look for a small dirt parking lot on the right.
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  • You cannot park at the hotel!
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  • NOTE: If the first parking lot is full, then continue down the road a short distance to find the next parking lot.


  • SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES ABOUT THIS HIKE

     This hike has the highest population of Timber Rattlesnakes in the Catskill Mountains. They can be found anywhere from the Parking Lots to the summit of Overlook Mtn, and Echo Lake. The road to the summit of Overlook Mtn is very wide, so it is easy to avoid them.

    While very few people see them from the Parking Lot to the Hotel ruins, they do show up there once-in-a-while. From the Hotel ruins up to the Overlook Mountain Summit (fire tower) there are a LOT of Timber Rattlesnakes. Be careful walking around the hotel ruins. They are often seen outside AND inside the hotel ruins. Stay out of grassy areas! Stay on the trail. Do not walk on the edge of the road anywhere on this hike. The road is very wide, so it is easy to stay away from the edge of the road. Timber Rattlesnakes are not considered aggressive, and move very slowly. But, if you too close to them, they strike very fast. They are fairly big. Easy to spot. They are very easy to see if they are going across the road. If you have children or dogs, make sure that they stay by your side. On top of the summit be careful if you walk in the grass around the Ranger Station. They blend in with the grass. In the Fall and Spring season, 52F degrees is the temperature where they usually will go in or out of their den. They are more likely to stay in their dens on cloudy days. In the Fall and Spring they will usually stay near the den (near the summit).

    Do NOT provoke or attack them. You cannot take them home as pets. They are endangered in New York State, and the fines are significant. They want to be left alone.

    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.


    MILEAGE CHART

      Mile PointAltitudeNotes
      0.001,762 DEC Parking Lot #1. If you are hiking from Parking Lot #2, add 0.30 miles to your hike
      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 #1

    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 large parking lot, but it does fill up on a summer weekend. This is a very popular hike. This parking lot holds about 30 cars. If this parking lot is full, then continue down the road about 1/4 mile to the second parking lot.

    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.

    Please be aware that you can encounter a Timber Rattlesnakes anywhere from the parking lots to the summit of the Overlook Mountain. So, don't venture off the road.

    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, the number of Timber Rattlesnakes increases significantly. You can sometimes find them around the hotel. They are a lot of them 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.

    Timber Rattlesnakes are not aggressive and are tolerant of people around them. They tend to move very slowly. But, if they feel threaten, they strike extremely fast. They can strike much faster then humans can move. Do NOT harass them or harm them.
    Overlook Mountain House
    The picture on the LEFT is the Guest House. It is located 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 near the fire tower.
    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.

    The lake you see in the distance is the Ashokan Reservoir. It is over 30 miles long, and supplies water to New York City.

    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. If you do not want to hike to Echo Lake, then continue down the road. But, if you want to hike to Echo Lake, then 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. 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 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 & REFERENCES

    NYS DEC information on Indian Head Wilderness
    DEC Indian Head Wilderness Map
    USGS Topographical Maps of Woodstock Quadrangle
     


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