We recently had the chance to partner up with Visit Huntsville to hike the Old Railroad Bed trail on Monte Sano from the Land Trust of North Alabama.  During our trip, we tried out an app that shares history of Monte Sano Mountain history while you are on the trail. Check out what we learned on this listening tour during Huntsville’s outdoor history week. #HistoryHSV

Hiking one of the nation’s first rail-to-rail audio tours in Huntsville Alabama, has been a highlight of our Trail Therapy launch during the fall of twenty twenty-one.

Monte Sano is a mountain with an interesting past that many know nothing about. When you download the TravelStory’s app you’ll have the chance to learn a whole new depth of Huntsville’s creative development. On Huntsville’s original “Mountain of Health” there are ten audio segments along a 2.5 mile moderate hiking trail that are automatically trigged by the app’s geolocation features. There’s so much to see along the way including tussled bridges and waterfalls.

Download the app to start learning!

Pro Tip: download the app and the Monte Sano Old Railroad Bed story before leaving home to experience the least interruptions on the trail.

monte sano old railroad bed trail

“We just stuck our phone in our pocket and listened along the way.” @TrailTherapyAL 

The mysteries revealed through the storytelling app, provides local hikers a creative new way to get out into nature.

Hiking the first rail-to-rail audio tour in Huntsville Alabama and experiencing Trail Therapy’s launch was a highlight of our trip. Monte Sano is an interesting mountain with many secrets that will be revealed on this hike, such as tussled bridges (a hiking term meaning they’ve been walked over).

The following is an overview of what we learned along the two and half mile hike.


Stop No. 1

That’s not litter your looking at. This section of the bluff line trail was the official dumpsite for the community of Monte Sano for several years until curbside garbage pickup was initiated. If you visit after a hard rainfall lots of vintage glass can be salvaged for DIY projects.


Stop No. 2

You are now on the Old Railroad Bed Trail which follows one of the country’s oldest and shortest lived rail corridors. Constructed over four short months this line took city-dwellers to the mountain of healing to fine renewal from dysentery fed diseases.


Stop No. 3

On eighty acers, the cool air and natural limestone springs were quickly recognized for their restorative power which inspired the building of health retreat on this mountain.

monte sano old railroad bed trail
monte sano old railroad bed trail


Stop No. 4

Five bridges were built along the stony route to provide a safe passage way along the mountain side that frequently saw rushing waters from the natural springs.


Stop No. 5

Remnants of rail way structures to include rock walls and stone trestles can still be seen. It’s hard to believe a train system traveled through this tight mountain side which makes the history awe-inspiring.


Stop No. 6

Massive landscape changes can still be seen that most likely destroyed large portions of the railway just four months after it was open for travelers.


Stop No. 7

Button hole loop represents the largest span of the railroad which can be observed at this tour stop. This site was the cause of the most monumental engineering dilemma associated with building the entire line.


Stop No. 8

What makes this trail so  historic is the fact that it leads to the site of a three-story 233 room Victorian style wooden structure on the top of the mountain. As the resort gained in popularity, guests came from every state touting guess like Helen Keller and Willian Vanderbilt among many others.


Stop No. 9

Nearing the end, hikers reach a major crossroads in the Monte Sano Nature Preserve trail system. At this junction, the Old Railroad Bed trail meets many others that can take you on an extended trek through the breathtaking forest below.


Stop No. 10

Now on Alms House Trail, this is a great spot to slow down and keep an eye out for fossils. This land was once submerged under the sea and remnants of that time can still be witnessed in rock formations.

Follow Trail Therapy for more behind the scenes outdoor Alabama adventures.

Check out Visit Huntsville’s Facebook post for more historical facts & details. 

Monte sano old railroad bed trail