The Monte Sano area offers dozens of miles of fantastic trail running options, only a couple of miles from downtown. Monte Sano sits on 2,000+ acres of preserved land, with spectacular views from its 1,100-foot summit. There are two ‘areas’ of trails and facilities: the Monte Sano Nature Preserve, and Monte Sano State Park. There are enough trails here that a 50k Ultra is hosted on the mountain alone! Uber or Lyft can drop trail runners off at three trailheads at the base of the mountain within minutes of Downtown. Note: the trails can be muddy.
Monte Sano Nature Preserve. This 1,000-acre preserve, managed by the Land Trust of Northern Alabama, is one of the largest urban land preserves in the United States. There are 22 miles of trails, with something for all abilities. For a long-ish and not too challenging trail run, combine the Old Railroad Bed, Wildflower, and Young-Kennedy trails. TRAIL MAP
Monte Sano State Park. 20 miles of hiking trails and 14 miles of biking trails. There’s also a Japanese Tea Garden, several scenic overlooks, and fire roads. The park is popular for camping. This trail map is an excellent resource, with information on trail length and difficulty. For easier trail running, we recommend the Bucca Family Trail, North Plateau Loop and South Plateau Loop.
Runners should note that two nationally recognized trail races are held on Monte Sano. The Mountain Mist 50K is recognized as one of the most difficult races in the south. The Dizzy Fifties 50K is the first leg in the Huntsville Grand Slam.