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Plateau Loop Trail Professional Review and Guide
"The Plateau Loop Trail is actually a combination of two trails, the North and South Plateau Loop Trails. Together, they form a single loop around the summit of Monte Sano Mountain and offer two contrasting views of this unique state park — its geology and its history. The phrase “monte sano” is Latin for mountain of health. In the early 1800s this mountain became a refuge for people with yellow fever, cholera, and malaria who sought out its cool air and clear waters. In 1827 Dr. Thomas Fearn established a colony here for people seeking relief from illness. He built an ornate home for himself and his family, complete with stables and a smokehouse.The colony flourished until Union soldiers destroyed it during the Civil War. Trail surface: Clay footpaths."
--Joe Cuhaj, Hiking Alabama (Falcon Guides).
My wife, dog and I hiked this trail a few Saturdays ago on a beautiful 75 degree day (odd for Alabama in September!). It's a very flat trail for all but about 100 yards. Saw several trail runners, understandable in light of the ease of the trail and proximity to the city. wish i lived closer so i could run there on a regular basis. anyway, beautiful, family friendly trail. very enjoyable.
This trial is divided into 2 parts: North and South. Both are relatively flat and easy. The North Plateau trail is about 1.2 miles and most of it is tree-covered. It circles the observatory and passes by the camp store. To me, this is the more interesting trail.
The South trail is longer [3.5 miles] but less interesting. Many parts of the South trail are unshaded and/or follow logging roads.
My wife and I just hiked the North Plateau Loop mainly by accident because we missed our turn to get to the Mountain Mist trail. Even so it was enjoyable and fun and would recommend as a short hike for anyone(it was only 1.2 miles).
This trail is located at Monte Sano State Park in Huntsville, AL. It is often used by joggers and walkers with their pets. This is an easy trail and hiking boots are not required. As you hike along the rim of the mountain, make sure you take the time to walk out to the bluffs and enjoy the views. This trail is often used as a connector trail as part of the trail system in the park. A visit to this trail after a hard days work is an excellent stress reliever. Make sure you visit the Ranger Station and get a trail map for the park. Enjoy your hike!
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