Hikers and bikers have the opportunity in most of the state parks in north Alabama to use the parks’ trails equally, but sometimes, the two activities do not co-exist in the best way.
Well, the Land Trust of North Alabama has implemented some changes at Monte Sano Park’s trails to make sure hikers and bikers alike can take advantage of the park.
What changes have been made
Three trails at Monte Sano Park – Oak Park, Bankhead, and Bluff Line – now have a handful of sections where the Land Trust has redirected bike traffic onto one-way bike-only sections. This gives bikers an area to focus on technique without risking a collision with hikers or even oncoming bike traffic.
“Over the past couple of years, we have implemented changes to some of our most heavily used trails to help alleviate user conflicts. By doing so we also hope to ensure our trails withstand lots of love for years to come without substantial maintenance demands.”Melanie Manson, Land Trust of North Alabama
Here are some of the changes made:
Oak Park Jump and Skills Area
- Located near the Oak Park Trailhead is an intermediate jump built for bikers getting comfortable in air with a catch berm to maintain speed before exiting with a “Whoops” section for rhythm building. Riders can easily session this area by pedaling back the uphill section.
Bankhead Downhill and Tabletop
- Halfway down Bankhead Trail, a split to the right sends you on a downhill only section for riders to let off the brakes and test their skills through turns, rocks, and trees before ending with a 30’ wooden tabletop.
Bluff Line Trail
- The bike-only section can only be described as a mosaic tile work of rocks that are constantly in flux. Riders are forced on a variety of lines as they make their way to the bottom. This section helps riders learn the limits of their bikes and proper body position while going through steep and chunky terrain.
Be safe on your bikes!
Not all bikers are of equal skill, and these trails may be harder for some and easier for others. Here are a few reminders that can help all trail users interact more safely:
- Trails can change due to weather and use, so it is recommended that bikers follow the RIDE SMART mentality (detailed below) to become familiar with a trail:
- Pre-ride: Roll the trail first to familiarize yourself with all jumps and features.
- Re-ride: Re-Ride the trail to get comfortable with all jumps and features.
- Free ride: When you feel like you are comfortable, “Free ride.”
- Bikers should always slow down as they reach the end of a bike feature and re-enter the main trail.
- Bikers should always announce their approach to other users.
- All trail users can refer to signage that indicates area where it’s important to use caution as well as where trail traffic is restricted in a particular direction.
REI has a great article about trail etiquette and who has the right-of-way in different situations if you’d like more information. Also, you can find trail maps for all Land Trust of North Alabama nature preserves, including Monte Sano, on the organization’s website.