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High Trail to Hotel Basin

  4.0 ( 1 ) Favorite


4.4 mile 7.0 kilometer out and back
87% Runnable


Ascent: 738' 225 m
Descent: -737' -225 m
High: 1,460' 445 m
Low: 756' 230 m


Avg Grade: 6% (4°)
Max Grade: 38% (21°)


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Trail shared by Kristen Arendt

A great out-and-back run to see some highlights of Monte Sano Nature Preserve.

Kristen Arendt

Features Fall Colors · Historical Significance · River/Creek · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife


Explore the rim of an old limestone quarry, run along a stream with a seasonal waterfall, and climb to the historic ruins of an old water basin used by the Monte Sano Hotel in the late 1800's.


Starting on the Three Caves Trail, runner will first skirt the rim of the old limestone quarry that has now been converted to a venue for events such as summer concerts. After a short stint on the Three Caves Trail, runners will connect to the Waterline Trail which runs along a raised pathway that was built for a water pipeline that brought water from the a reservoir on top of Monte Sano. Parts of the pipeline are visible as you make your way up the trail.

The Waterline Trail is one of the more challenging trails at the preserve. There are two reasons why this trail is so challenging. The first is the almost constant incline from its start at Three Caves to end at Bluff Line Trail. The second reason is the challenging section at Dry Falls that requires you to cross a creek bed that is very treacherous, especially when wet.

Then to top off the challenging creek crossing, you immediately have to traverse a steep section where you almost have to crawl up and out of a steep embankment. The most difficult sections lie just before the end of the trail at the Bluff Line Trail. Just take your time navigating these tricky sections.

At the end of the Waterline Trail, you'll turn left briefly on the Bluff Line Trail to connect to the High Trail. The High Trail is rocky for its entire duration, but much flatter than the Waterline Trail so the running is easier. After about a mile of running, it meets back up with the short Hotel Basin Trail. This short spur trail climbs to the historic site of the old water basin used by the Monte Sano Hotel in the late 1800's. After exploring the area and spotting the ruins, simply head back the way you came.

Flora & Fauna

Seasonal wildflowers.

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Need to Know, Runner Notes, History & Background


Land Manager: Land Trust of North AL

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in Alabama


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Dry Falls
Oct 27, 2015 near Huntsville, AL
Three Caves, formerly known as Hermitage Quarry.
Feb 4, 2016 near Huntsville, AL
Rocky terrain
Oct 15, 2019 near Huntsville, AL
Rocky terrain
Oct 15, 2019 near Huntsville, AL
Mossy Top
Dec 27, 2019 near Huntsville, AL
Lindsey Corner (Intersection of High and Bluffline Trails)
Jul 1, 2016 near Huntsville, AL


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