This trail begins at the gravel Hikers' Parking Lot and is relatively level and easy.
Starting at the gravel parking lot, take a left at the fork just below the parking lot. You'll cross a wooden bridge and there will be a relatively high root obstacle before coming to an intersection with the Sinks Trail
at the road. Continue down the trail to the Family Bike Trail
. Do NOT go past the Family Bike Trail
(note the "No Bikes sign" after the Family Bike Trail
). This 0.4-mile section is closed to bikes due to erosion issues.
If you do not plan to ride the Family Bike Trail
, turn around and exit the South Plateau Loop at the Sinks Trail
intersection to the paved park road. Ride on the low-traffic paved road until you see the South Plateau Loop trail on the left. Turn here. This section is technical and filled with water bars and roots. After the descent, the trail levels out with a trail shelter on the left and then ascends back up to the Gravel Road.
The Gravel Road forks about half-way out to O'Shaughnessy Point. Take the left fork, which has a few large but avoidable rocks. At O'Shaughnessy Point, enjoy the views. From there, continue back towards the Hikers' Parking lot as the trail continues along the bluff, providing excellent views of McKay Hollow and the western plateau of Monte Sano. You'll notice several rest shelters that can be utilized in the event of foul weather and numerous overlooks of the valley below. The trail intersects with the McKay Hollow Trail
, the Fire Tower Trail
(which runs with it for a short distance), and the Bog Trail
along the edge of the plateau. For a brief section, the trail narrows and runs very close to the bluff and care should be exercised here. The trail then proceeds over an extremely rooty section, but the average mountain biker should be able to navigate this section with little trouble, especially on a 29er.
After this rooty section, the trail becomes a pleasant, smooth, rolling singletrack. It then crosses a stream (which is usually dry in the summer) and two bridges. One of these bridges is tricky and dismounting from your bike is recommended here to avoid pinch flats. The trail then crosses the Fire Tower Trail
once again and moves quickly back to the Hikers' Parking Lot at the first fork where you turned left at the beginning.