A great loop to enjoy some of the best views in Monte Sano.
The North Plateau Loop Trail runs an inner loop within Monte Sano State Park and acts as a great access point for a lot of the trails within the park. It offers some great views; one near Bankhead parkway and other Behind the Monte Sano Lodge.
If you head north from the parking area by the lookout one of the first things you'll see is an old vinyl trail marker shaped like a space shuttle. From here the trail inclines and is narrow with some steeper drop-offs has you get closer Cold Springs Trail
as well as rocky in places with plenty of roots to watch out for. In about 0.25 miles, you'll pass the Van Braun Astronomical Society building.
A half mile in, Cold Springs Trail
bears off to the right and while North Plateau Trail heads southwest until it crosses Nolen Avenue near the Monte Sano Toll Booth. From there it continues south where at about a mile McKay Hollow Trail
merges with it. This section does have some roots but is not as rocky.
From here, it heads east behind the lodge where you have some nice views of the mountains as well as the limestone rock ledges and formations. Eventually, you'll intersect with the Fire Tower Trail
just before a commonly used parking lot around the 1.5-mile mark. From there, head north, crossing Nolen Avenue Southeast/Bankhead Parkway Northeast, until you reach your origin point.
From North Plateau Loop, you can connect to Cold Springs Trail
, Fire Tower Trail
, and McKay Hollow Trail