When we first did the Catskills fire tower challenge we completed it in two days. There were 5 fire towers on the list but a new one has been added recently, the Upper Esopus. So while there are six fire tower challenges in the Catskills, our Peakquest scratch off only includes five. Since we never scratched off the peaks on the card, we decided to redo the challenge. The first fire tower we completed this year was Red Hill. After completing that one on a very cold day, we figured another one was possible. So, yesterday we decided to complete Overlook Mountain fire tower and the Upper Esopus.
Last time we came to do the Overlook Mt fire tower challenge the parking lot was full! We completed another tower challenge before it and that’s why we were there late. Anyway, we had to park down the block so when we parked at the parking lot yesterday I started to walk towards that spot. Funny how our brains work on autopilot. Once I realized I was going in the wrong direction, I turned around and started walking towards the entrance.
The minute I started walking up the hill, flashbacks of the summer hike here came back to me. It was hot, humid, and packed with people. I ended up dropping my phone coming down the hill and was lucky that a group of hikers found it. This time, the path was covered in frozen snow and a layer of ice beneath it. In some spots, you had to cross over a sheet of ice. If you’ve never hiked here before you should know that it’s just three miles of wide carriage road up the hill. Once you’re about two miles up the hill, you get to explore the old Overlook Mountain House ruins. This hotel has a long history, with two fires that destroyed it. Just imagine those swank parties, food and views the guests got to enjoy!
We decided to keep going to the Overlook mountain fire tower first and to explore the ruins afterwords. I was a little disappointed that the top was closed still. I would have loved to see the views from the top and enjoy a little snack break without wind. Alas, it did not happen but perhaps next time we are here. After taking a few pictures, videos and scratching off the Overlook mountain on the Peakquest card, we headed back down. We made sure to stop and explored the ruins of the Overlook Mountain house. Some of us even slid down the stairs three times.Hiking Overlook fire tower YouTube video