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Stone Cuts to Golan Heights Loop

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 5.0 (2) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A challenging loop to explore some of Monte Sano's most rugged and beautiful areas.


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Map Key

4.1

Miles

6.5

KM

88%

Runnable

1,611' 491 m

High

1,296' 395 m

Low

666' 203 m

Up

668' 204 m

Down

6%

Avg Grade (4°)

41%

Max Grade (22°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Cave · Fall Colors · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Overview

Though Monte Sano State Park offers runners with many varied trails, this loop hits some of the park's best (and most challenging) terrain. Highlights include the fantastic limestone formations along the Stone Cuts Trail and the chance to spot the park's herd of feral goats along Golan Heights.

Need to Know

Some trails are marked with blazes painted on the trees or rocks, but other trails are largely unmarked. Bring a map or use the Trail Run Project mobile app to make sure you are on track.

Description

From the trailhead, this run starts out on the Sinks Trail. From the paved parking lot off on the north side of Nolen Avenue, the Sinks Trail is one of the more challenging trails on Monte Sano. Starting near 1,600 feet, the trail quickly descends into the valley, crossing Mountain Mist at 0.25 miles, reaching the area known as Three Benches at 0.5 miles.

Shortly after Three Benches, there is a confusing intersection with the Keith Trail and Stone Cuts Trail. Look for the Stone Cuts Trail which is one of the highlights of the run. The natural limestone formations have created an awesome path that makes the Stone Cuts one of the must-do trails in Monte Sano State Park.

From the intersection, the trail climbs to the Stone Cuts. Just before reaching the formations the Stone Cuts Bypass branches off to your left (for an easier alternate if you don't feel like scrambling through the cuts). A little bit further up the trail is where the Stone Cuts start. The limestone has formed a cool tunnel that you run through before heading under a tree that is leaning between two walls where you pop out on the other end.

After the "Cuts," the trail descends and is very rocky, requiring some technical running skills for the rest of the way. You'll pass a junction with the Panther Knob Trail and keep going to the trail's end at the Logan Point Trail. Turn north here on the Logan Point Trail which runs around Logan Point intersecting with the Stone Cuts Trail, Panther Knob Trail, Northern Flat Rock Connector, and Keith Trail before dead-ending into the Stone Cuts.

The first section of the trail is doubletrack and more than likely an old logging road. It is very popular with mountain bikers so it can be more worn down than some of the more rocky trails. Eventually, the trail converts back to singletrack descending through the woods before looping back around to the junction by Three Benches. As you run this section around Golan Heights, keep and eye (and ear) open for a chance to spot the park's resident group of feral goats. Once back to the intersection, pick up the Sinks Trail to climb back to the trailhead.

Contacts

Shared By:

Kristen Arendt

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 2 votes

#1186

Overall
  5.0 from 2 votes
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Recommended Route Rankings

#6

in Alabama

#1,186

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925 Since Dec 26, 2019
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Photos

Entrance to the Stone Cuts, it is visible from the trail at its intersection with the bypass.
May 12, 2015 near Huntsville, AL
Stone Cut
Nov 6, 2019 near Huntsville, AL
Stone Cuts!  A large tree blocks part of the trail.
Jun 1, 2015 near Huntsville, AL
Runners going down to the Sinks
Jun 16, 2015 near Huntsville, AL
The start of the Bucca Family Trail off of the South Plateau Loop.  This is a great example of how flat and trip-hazard-free the trail is.
Jun 1, 2015 near Huntsville, AL
Stone cut on Panther Knob
Jun 15, 2015 near Huntsville, AL

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