The Fire Tower Trail is a mixture of old wagon roads and modern singletrack running between the northwest end of the North Plateau Loop
and the southeast end of the South Plateau Loop
Starting at the southern terminus of the trail, the trail intersects with, and follows for a few hundred feet, the Family Bike Trail
. Some of this section suffers from erosion but is wide enough that most problems can be avoided. The trail quickly diverges from the Family Bike Trail
and runs along an old wagon road towards the western half of the South Plateau Loop
. You can see the old Fire Tower and access it by taking an unmarked side trail up the ridge to it.
After reaching and following a short portion of the South Plateau Loop
, the sites of the old Fearn and O'Shaughnessy homes can be seen along the old wagon road between the South Plateau Loop
and the Bog Trail
. This section of the trail is relatively flat and extremely easy but can become muddy after significant rains.
The trail continues north past the Bog Trail
and travels through some heavily eroded sections before passing the "outdoor classroom". An unmarked trail branches off near the "outdoor classroom". The Fire Tower Trail then proceeds north towards the northern portion of the South Plateau Loop
and then past the North Plateau Loop
. After crossing the North Plateau Loop
, it crosses Nolen Avenue, the main automobile route into Monte Sano State Park.
The portion of the trail north of Nolen Avenue includes more singletrack and runs through the disc golf course. Be careful not to venture onto the disc golf course trail lest you get hit by a stray frisbee. The disc golf course and the biking/hiking trail are well-marked to help you avoid this. The trail then has a short ascent out of the disc golf course, but can be confusing to most riders. You want to head west down the trail, which becomes a straight fire road that eventually passes by an old restored portion of the historic Monte Sano Railway before ending at the North Plateau Loop
. From this point, you may either return back the way you came to Nolen Avenue or turn right on the North Plateau Loop