“A rocky old CCC-era trail with a technical descent.”
— Zack Butler on May 23, 2013
RestrictionsClosed when wet.
DescriptionStarting at the South Monte Sano Trailhead, take the connector trail down to the Natural Well Trail. Turn left off of the connector (going straight takes you to Trough Springs). The first mile is somewhat rocky in places, and it's bisected by a landslide where the trail was re-routed. The re-route is more technical than the previous section. Most of this trail has fist-sized rocks to prevent erosion, and is rather bumpy. At about one mile from the beginning, the trail intersects with the Arrowhead Trail. It also smoothes out for about a half-mile as it continues winding around the mountain.
At about 1.5 miles, the trail descends down to the Natural Well with a heavily eroded and rocky section. The Natural Well is at about the 1.7-mile point. Be careful around the Natural Well; it's a 300-foot deep vertical shaft cave which was intended to be used as a tourist attraction back in the 1930's (with an elevator in the shaft to be constructed by the CCC) but was cancelled due to the complexity and expense of the task.
The final 0.3 mile is a steep, rocky descent characterized by switchbacks and creek crossings. Some of this is rideable, but most people will have to hike-a-bike on the majority of the descent. At the bottom of the descent, the trail intersects with the Arrowhead Trail for the second time.
Although the Natural Well trail does continue past this point, and it's not closed to biking past this point, the lack of maintenance on the next section (not mapped) makes it nearly impossible to ride without a hike-a-bike for the majority of it. For a more gentle climb back to the trailhead, consider turning right on the Arrowhead Trail instead of returning the way you came.
You can also bypass the unrideable section by turning left on the Arrowhead Trail, which will dump you back out on the Natural Well Trail on the other side of McKay Hollow with less elevation change near the McKay Hollow Trail.
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