This ride is not for the weak of heart. Just outside the town of Woodstock lies a graded, wide jeep road that ascends the 3,100-foot Overlook Mountain. Not many roads reach a summit in the Catskill Mountains. Although this nontechnical climb demands great stamina and lung capacity, the rewards of cresting this mountain with a bike are incomparable. The effort to climb the summit is more than compensated by the views from the top. Additional rewards are a remote wilderness lake and a gonzo, turbocharged descent. At the summit are spur trails on open ledges facing the Hudson Valley. There is also a fire tower at the summit providing some spectacular views after a short climb up the stairs. The 9-mile (total mileage), out-and-back, wide, smooth jeep road passes the ruins of the historic Catskill Hotel site. Beginning in the early part of the nineteenth century, America entered the Romantic period, when arts and nature became priorities. A good view was held in high regard. Despite the ravaging of the land at the time, the Catskills still held much natural beauty. The region became a magnet for the aristocracy and intelligentsia. Grand hotels with glorious mountain views were built for the rich and famous, who flocked to the Catskills. As the West was discovered, the Catskill crowd thinned, and the great hotels closed one by one. Built in 1870 the Overlook Mountain House, which housed about 300 guests, was situated at an elevation of more than 2,900 feet, the highest of them all. After reaching the summit explore a rocky jeep trail that descends 2 more miles to the secluded and picturesque Echo Lake. It’s a great place to rest, feast, snooze, and meditate. Located just outside the village of Woodstock in the Catskill Mountains from Exit 20 on the New York State Thruway (Interstate 87). The ride up Overlook Mountain climbs about 1,400' in a little under 3 miles and will whip you up into shape.
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