Monte Sano, Spanish for Mountain of Health, rises more than 1,600 feet above sea level. The mountain has attracted visitors since the mid 1820s with the establishment of the town of Viduta, a derivative of the Spanish word Vida, meaning life. Viduta was home to a sanatorium and a hotel resort, Hotel Monte Sano, which opened its doors in 1887 and closed in the early 1900s due to a declining economy.
The hike is downhill from the parking lot on typical North Alabama terrain meaning a lot of rocks and roots. It starts back up as you near the Stone Cuts, which always amaze me. The trail is along the base of the bluffs, which become cave like in some places. I never tire of seeing these rock formations. There is a little vertical challenge at the end. This is one of my favorite trails.
I think this is a great trail for anyone looking to just get outdoors for a couple of hours. There are some steep areas but it isn't too complicated. Definitely keep an eye out for the trail signs so that you stay on the correct trail. There are several that intersect and/or break off from each other. We had no trouble seeing them though so as long as you're paying attention they are easy to spot. I really enjoyed this trail and will definitely be back!
Had great hike from this trail head on a couple of the trails that intersect this main trail. The Rail Bed trail is very hard being on the old rail bed, the rocks used for the bed are larger than modern railroad rocks and very treacherous to traverse after the rain the day before. We hiked 3/4 of the trail and picked up the Fagan Springs trail and found the spring. It was cold and clear. Very refreshing. We made our way down the mountain on the Alms House trail and found the foundation next to a creek. We began exploring for the caves when the weather changed for the worst, with a menacing sounding thunder storm coming up on the opposite side of the mountain from us. It was a fast ascent through the trail system to get back to the Trail Head that was very changing. My only negative would be that the falls and creek were mostly dry this time of year.
Had a great hike on this trail. Very easy to traverse. Lots of over looks and rest sites. My only negative would be the amount of foliage at the over looks obstructing the view. Will defiantly go back in the late fall or winter to get the "Big Picture". Also came up on a downed power line at the 2.5 mile marker. A storm the night before blew a tree down on it. Was lucky to see it in time. I notified the park rangers and it was taken care of by the power company.
Today was our first time on the NP trail. The hike was good but the highlight was when a small fawn, about 18"H×18"L came right up to me and sniffed my leg. I've never had that experience before, at least not in the wild. we will definitely be back!
Matt B. on South Plateau Loop
Fantastic. Quiet easy stroll through nature. Crossed paths with a deer, a stick bug, and a number of butterflies.