The Overlook Mountain House was once a gem of the Catskills tourism boom, but now the remains of the once-decadent lodging attract more hikers than vacationers.
From the 1820s through the 1920s, New York’s Catskills region was the premier resort destination in America. Romantic painters and poets flocked to the unspoiled and inspiring landscapes, and wealthy American tourists soon followed suit. Resorts and magnificent hotels popped up all across the scenic mountain region. One of the foremost of these resorts was the first-class Overlook Mountain House, built in 1833 to capitalize on the stunning views from the top of Overlook Mountain.
Like nearly all of the grand hotels and resorts from the area’s boom times, the Overlook Mountain House eventually fell into ruin (after a number of fires and rebuilds), and today the concrete skeleton rises out of the overgrown woods. Many walls, windows, architectural details, a fountain, and even a fireplace and curving staircase still survive in the eerie structure.
Hikers and explorers looking to experience some modern ruins will find what they seek in abundance in this beautifully rotting hotel.
Know Before You Go
Trailhead: Take NYS Thruway (87) to Exit 20. Get on Rte 212 heading west. When you reach the center of Woodstock, take right on Rock City Road. This road becomes Mead Mountain Road after crossing Glasco Turnpike. The parking area is on the right across from the Buddhist Temple, about 1.5 miles from Rte 212 .
The hike is long and strenuous, weaving up the mountain on a gravel road, but ultimately rewarding at the end, with a few more abandoned buildings near the hotel as well as a fire tower little ways up. About 2.5 miles down the trail from the ruins is a place called Echo Lake that has a few campsites. It's smart to go camping on Echo Lake and see the ruins on the way.
The trail has seen rattlesnake sightings, especially in June. Stay on the path, be aware of your surroundings, and don’t disturb any snakes you see.