Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Monte Sano. Natural Well, Arrowhead, McKay Hollow and Fire Tower, 10 miler

This is a tougher hike with a 600+ foot drop in elevation that you then climb back up, more than once. Natural Well Trail is the only 2 diamond (most difficult) trail in the state park.

Start at the land trust hiker's parking lot at Trough Springs and walk Natural Well Trail to the Arrowhead Trail intersection, walk that to the junction back onto Natural Well.

(opens in new window)

The fact that it has that faded blue color as it goes deeper makes it look deeper and scarier.  Though it hardly needs the help.

I was hiking alone, but dorked out and took some action shots.  hehe

Natural Well ends at McKay Hollow Trail and turn right (away from the shortest route to the office) and follow the trail along a nice long nearly flat stretch!  It begins climbing out of the hollow to meet up with the South Plateau trail near O'Shaughnessy Point.  Take in the view and then turn back toward the office.  You can take any trail headed that way, there's South Plateau, the family bike trail, Mountain Mist, AND the fire tower trail.  They all head to the hiker's parking lot, though the Fire Tower Trail is straightest (shortest) and actually crosses North Plateau Trail.

This trail is STEEP.  I have always been annoyed that trails in photos always look so flat!

My father never failed to point out when it was 1-2-3-4.  He also was a little nuts about 11:11.
When I catch the time at 12:34, I always send love to my Daddy.

Sweating so hard it was dripping off my elbows.
Soaked through my clothes!

From there you can take North Plateau to the playground and hit the other end of McKay Hollow and follow it back down to Natural Well and take that back to the hiker's parking lot. That's 2.5 for the Natural Well Trail, 4.5 for Arrowhead, 2 for McKay Hollow and about 2 to get back from O'Shaughnessy Point to the other end of McKay Hollow located at the playground. 

I only hit one spring that was active on the whole route.
I quickly finished off my water and refilled and treated!

Nearly to the road!

About Me

Unschooling mama from the start with 2014, 2016 and 2018 graduation dates. I enjoy camping, reading, swimming, hiking and photography.