South Plateau Overlook

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Monte Sano State Park
in Madison County


N 34.743689
E -86.511285





Time 2 hrs Loop
Distance 3.6 mi

Monte Sano State Park has a number of trails from easy to hard. The South Plateau trail loops the upper section of the park pas the old fire tower. Starting at the gravel parking lot, the trail turns east as it winds it way through the woods past several of the cabins. The bike route and south plateau trails run together for 1/10 of a mile before the bike trail turns off and heads deeper into the woods. Continuing along the trail, you will cross a service road and then Bankhead Parkway NW. The initial section is almost flat, with a even dirt path.

After crossing the road, the trail becomes rocky and slopes downhill then continues through the woods. After 1/4 mile, the trail intersects with the now gravel Bankhead Parkway and the two run together as they slowly ascend the mountain. The gravel road has less appeal so at 0.1 miles, the bike and south plateau trails pass beside one another. The intersection is marked with a garbage can. I decided to follow the bike trail for the rest of the trek up the mountain. The path is wooded with hardwood trees and thick undergrowth.

At the top you will emerge for a terrific view. Continuing on the south plateau trail will carry you along the ridge on a rocky,wide path. There are a couple of shelters along the way. The trail offers little in the way of view, but great for birding. The trail intersects the Firetower trail and then turns west again following the ridge. After winding it way through the wooded landscape, the trail crosses over the Firetower trail and continues back to the gravel parking lot.

Overall, the hike is easy and allows for the enjoyment of many different birds. The best views come at the midpoint of the hike, whereas most of the rest is within the wooded forest. For a short hike, this is a good trip.