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Land Trust Loop Professional Review and Guide
"The hike travels through a preserve created by volunteers and donors on the west side of Monte Sano Mountain in Northern Alabama. The Land Trust Loop Trail is rugged and can be a challenge. Along the route are waterfalls and the huge Three Caves Quarry. Climbs down (or up) the upper Bluffline Trail and the Waterfall Trail are steep. Trail Surface: Part dirt path; part boulders and rocks."
--Joe Cuhaj, Hiking Alabama (Falcon Guides).
This was a really fun trail with a lot of very beautiful areas, topped off by the 3 Caves Quarry. The walk from the Quarry up the Waterline trail was very pretty, but the trail needed to be marked a little better as I had trouble connecting with the Bluffline trail. I eventually found the Annadale and followed it to the Bluffline trail. This was a great hike and I would recommend it.
The trail consists of the Bluffline trail [BLT], the Waterline trail [WLT] and the Alms House trail [AHT].
I hiked this trail the day after it had rained and hoped that some of the water ways would be running; they weren't. The rain only made the trails muddy and slippery in some areas. It was a mid-week hike and I only saw one other person on the trails. The trails were mostly rocky with muddy spots on the steepest portions of the WLT.
I started at the parking lot and turned right/East on to the BLT. The BLT follows a bluff line and is flat and rocky until it connects with the Annandale trail.
At this point, the loop turns left/South and goes up hill until it meets the WLT.
The WLT follows an old waterline pipe back down the mountain. This is the hardest part of the loop. However, the worst of the descent can be avoided by either taking the Annandale trail from the BLT to the WLT or the BLT connector to the WLT. Although the connector is well marked on the WLT side, I never found a marker on the BLT side even though I was looking for it.
The WLT crisscrosses a stream, which was dry at this time of the year despite the previous day's rain, and is steep and rocky. I made good use of my walking stick in several places. At one point, I arrived at a sharp drop by the stream bed and thought I had lost the trail, but found it continues on the other side, so just be perseverant.
The WLT eventually flattens out and the ALT is also very flat until the last 1/4 mile when you start to climb back to the parking lot.
The whole hike took me 2 3/4 hours including lost time finding the WLT and the side excursion to the 3 caves.
I don't recommend you hike these trails without an updated trail map which you can get in Monte Santo State Park. You can spend a lot more time on the trails than you might intend without a map.
One of the best trails out of all the Monte Sano trails. Creeks, waterfalls and caves make this one of the most beautiful five mile hikes you will find in all North East Alabama. The trail is an easy hike that almost all beginners can enjoy. The last 1/2 mile is a bit more challenging, but only because of the uphill terain. Overall it doesn't get much better than this. Pack a lunch and eat it overlooking the Three Caves. I would also suggest a small detour towards the end of your hike to Fegan Springs Trail where another beautiful waterfall awaits. Hop over a few rocks and sit right in the middle of it for a chance to cool off as the water meanders on both sides of you.
Myself and my three children, ages 13, 10 and 9, hiked the Land Loop Trust trails consisting of the Bluff Line trail, Waterline trail and Alms House trail. It was very enjoyable and a good time. We packed a backpack with water and snacks and enjoyed a lunch on the rocks near the Bluff Line and Wagon Trail intersection. At the top of the Waterline trail, near the seasonal waterfall the trail was rather obscure, but we located the main trail easy enough after we followed the stream a few hundred yards. Be sure to be on the right hand side of the stream, coming down the hill in order to pick up the Waterline Trail. We spent a good amount of time at the Three Caves quarry where the kids got to explore the old limestone caves. Be sure to bring flashlights in order to enjoy the area to the fullest.
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