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Alabama Hikes: The Cross on Monte Sano Mountain

Monte Sano Cross Hiking Trail

Huntsville, Alabama is full of hiking trails that allow you to experience the great outdoors. You can even hike to one of the city’s famous landmarks — the cross on Monte Sano Mountain. Learn more about this fantastic hike in Huntsville here.

Looking for a short but easy hike in Huntsville?

The hike to the Cross on Monte Sano Mountain is the perfect hike for any level hiker! Get out an explore the Rock Bluff Trail at Burritt on the Mountain and hike to the iconic Cross.

About the Cross on Monte Sano Mountain

The cross on Monte Sano Mountain was built in 1963 through a united effort that involved multi-racial area churches and businesses. Dick Dickson, an architect on the city’s Planning Commission who was also behind the design of the Huntsville City Hall and the Von Braun Civic Center’s arena, designed the 74 foot tall cross.

This was a racially integrated and ecumenical effort during complicated times. The goal of the cross was to symbolize a city balanced in peace and faith.

The 38-ton concrete cross stands 74 feet tall with a cross beam of 31 feet. Marbleized chips encrust the face of the cross to better reflect the light. Those who know where to look on Monte Sano Mountain can find the cross peaking out of the green trees just below Burritt on the Mountain‘s Baron Bluff Building.

Monte Sano Cross

Accessing the Cross on Rock Bluff Trail

The cross is accessible along the Burritt’s Rock Bluff Trail. The trail has handicapped access from the Hiker’s Parking Lots on Burritt Drive. This is a rare handicap accessible trail, complete with raised boardwalks and smooth paths. Parking and hiking for the trail are free.

The hike can be accessed in four places: from the Burritt Events Center, from Oak Tree Trail, and from two parking lots on Burritt Drive. The lower parking lot has quite a few parking space, and the upper parking lot has only four spaces, with three being handicapped spaces.

Hiking to the Cross on the Mountain

The hike to the cross is very straightforward. It’s only a 0.7 mile loop and has very little change in elevation. As well as taking you right up to the cross, Rock Bluff Trail also crosses a boardwalk and passes by a cave. This is a quick and easy hike perfect for any time of year.

Rock Bluff Trail

We started our hike at the lower Hiker’s Parking Lot. We followed Burritt Drive, admiring the yarn-decorated trees along the road, to the upper parking lot, then the trail ducked under the canopy of trees. About a quarter of the way into the hike, the trail passes a large cave.

Rock Bluff Trail Hike

The Rock Bluff Trail reaches the cross about halfway through the hike. The cross sits in a wide clearing surrounded by folliage.

Cross on Monte Sano Hike

The hike then continues on the other side of the clearing, ducking back into the cover of the trees. As the trail proceeds, there are several educational plaques describing area plants, animals, and geological features. The trail passes the Oak Tree Trail at about three quarters through the hike. The hike completes back at the lower parking lot at about 0.7 miles, having completed its circuit on the bluff surrounding Burritt on the Mountain.

Hiking Essentials

Come prepared for your hike by making sure you pack the essentials. Check out this must-have hiking gear before you set off on the trails:

Where to Stay in Huntsville, Alabama

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More Things To Do in Huntsville, Alabama

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Ready to visit Huntsville, Alabama? Plan your trip with these tips.



Alabama Hikes: The Cross on the Mountain

Have you hiked to the Cross on Monte Sano Mountain in Huntsville, Alabama? Let me know all about your hike in the comments!

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