Monte Sano State Park,

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The ridge to the east of Huntsville is considered to be three separate mountains Monte Sano (northern most), Huntsville Mountain and Green Mountain. Monte Sano is divided from Huntsville Mountain by the familiar gap that accommodates highway 431. The new highway "Cecil Ashburn" goes through Blevins Gap, separating Huntsville Mountain from Green Mountain to the south. Monte Sano Mountain, in addition to the large residential area, also has Monte Sano State Park and Burritt On the Mountain Historic Park. Monte Sano also an extensive hike trail network. Some of the network is on the mountain top (plateau) and is relatively flat. The mountain top trails have gone by different names over the years. Many will remember the Red White and Blue trail names of the 80's and before. In the 90's Carl Craig, with approval of the park manager reorganized, blazed and extended the trail system. Segments were joined to form loops and networks.

All of the developed Park facilities are on the northern part of the mountaintop. The southern part is undeveloped except for several rental cabins and a Ranger residence. The rest remains rustic and has several very popular trails including the 3.5 mile South Plateau Loop. The Loop essentially follows the bluff line and provides nice views of surrounding countryside. This trail as well as its counterpart, the North Plateau Loop is accessed from the Hiker's parking Lot at the end of Nolen Drive.

The South Plateau Loop has connections to other mountaintop trails that allow parking lot return for less ambitious hikes. It also has connections to off mountaintop trails of the Park, Sinks, Mountain Mist, Warpath Ridge and McKay. The Fire Trail and Family Biker trails run through the interior of the South Plateau Mountain top. There are several shelters along the way and the popular O'Shaughnessy Point overlook at the far extremity of the trail.

A trail map is highly recommended if venturing very far on the trail system, people do get lost every year, requiring expensive rescue efforts. A nice trail map can be purchased at the Park store or at the Headquarters building.

There is a day use fee for use of the Park trails. Season pass availability may also be in future planning. Click on the Monte Sano Park Web Site link below for official information on rules, fees and other information on the extensive recreational opportunities of the Park.