I’d passed the small trailhead parking area off Bankhead Parkway countless times. I’d even done trail maintenance in the area, but I’d never hiked the Cold Springs trail until the summer of 2020. The beauty of this trail is its combined simplicity and versatility. It is less than a mile in total length, but the topography and uses it covers are immense. From specialized MTB (mountain biking) turns to educational signs denoting native trees, the first quarter mile of the trail offers something unique. My favorite aspect of this trail is the ease of connecting with plateau trails and the larger surrounding trail systems of the State Park and Land Trust. However, don’t be deceived that your path to the top of the plateau comes with ease.
The bulk of the trail follows the land’s natural contour lines, but it also transects these near each terminus. Basically, the beginning and end of this path get a bit steep, but the middle portion is mostly gradual ups and downs allowing you to enjoy the forest scenery. The most extensive elevation gain is near the plateau, so if you aren’t up for this climb it is easy to turn back and only face the more gradual, switchback climb near the trailhead.
My Wander Tot is no stranger to challenging hikes, but I wouldn’t recommend this trail for families with young children past the carrying size. Even my little one’s “seasoned” trail legs needed a shoulder ride so she could eat a snack and regain some energy. However, if you’re searching for a quick trail run or hike to get the blood pumping, want to wear out a rambunctious child, or are ready to take your MTB ride to the next level this may be the trail you need.
peace is found in nature, and Cold Springs provides it in abundance
My family hit the trail with only a vague plan, a pack lunch, and our rain gear. We descended the gentle switchbacks near the trail’s west end, and were impressed by the large MTB-style turns mounded up at each direction switch. The scents of a summer forest flooded the air as we toddled along enjoying the diversity of hardwoods and beautiful rock outcroppings. The same path is now littered with the fall of these aromatic leaves, and more open forest views reveal the sandstone bluffs in greater clarity. It is true that peace is found in nature, and Cold Springs provides it in abundance.
With a toddler now riding high from her observation tower we ascended to the plateau, and followed the North Plateau to the overlook near the park’s original entrance. There we enjoyed a picnic before rushing back along the closed forest road through buckets of cool summer rain. It was a fun and memorable outing, and Cold Springs has always offered us enjoyment since.
What to know?
- Be prepared with appropriate clothing, footwear, water, snacks and other essentials
- Tell someone your plan, and hike with a buddy
- Know your limits, and those of your children and pets
- Follow all Land Trust and State Park rules, such as keeping your pet on a leash
- For more tips on preparing for a hike read Planning Your First Hike
- Visit https://www.landtrustnal.org/properties/blevins-gap-preserve/ and https://www.alapark.com/parks/monte-sano-state-park to plan your trip
Let us guide you on a private adventure or group hike. Contact ButterflyOutdoors@gmail.com for rates and more information.
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