With an entrance to the trail located only a matter of feet away from our setup at Monksville's South Launch, we have been wanting to hike this trail all summer. Now that the weather has cooled down and we are only offering rentals by reservation on Thursdays, we finally took the time to put our boots on, load our dogs into the car and hit the trail!
We started on the trail along the water, then cut over and headed up the mountain.
After walking up the hill at this trail opening is access to the Monks Trail Circular. The entrance of the trail, which is a loop, on this side of the reservoir gives the option of two directions. We went left, which headed uphill. For the first 15 minutes at least, we were going uphill on a narrow rocky trail. Some places had small trees that had fallen along the path, which were easy for us and the dogs to get over. I once saw someone bring a baby stroller on this trail...if this is the route they chose I don't imagine they got very far! I held off taking pictures until the trail leveled out some.
After going up and back down again, the trail opened up to a nice view of the reservoir. At this point we had been walking about a half hour, so we were closer to the North Launch.
The trail widened at this point...I think this means we lost the actual white dot trail, which seems to get closer to the water, somewhere to the left of where we were here. But this "open road" lead us straight to the North Launch, nice and easy.
The colors at the North side seem to be a lot further along than the South side! Some of the trees look like they've already dropped their leaves.
We walked along the parking lot a little bit, because we weren't sure where to get back on the trail...soon we headed back to where we had come out. On this side of the reservoir it's more obvious where to go, as this is the more "official" starting point for the Monks Circular--a big yellow triangular barricade with enough room for people to squeeze by its side, all the way at the end of the parking lot. We got back on the "open road" hiking trail. Almost immediately on the right hand side we saw the part of the trail we should have come out of--narrow and marked by white dots.
Since this is where we should have come from, then the continuation of the trail should be to our left.
After walking a few more steps and not seeing the connecting trail, we realized we must have walked past it, so we turned around.
Found it! Now for the second half of the loop!
And we were back before we knew it. This half of the trail felt a little easier and shorter, although it could have been because we already had a warm up!
And we're back at the South Launch lookout next to our container. At 60 degrees it was a great hike, which took us about 1 hour and a half total, including the time we went off the trail at the North Launch.
We highly recommend checking out this trail if you haven't already! Just make sure that you wear bright colors--we learned from someone along the way that right now it's small game season. So it's a good idea to keep yourself (and your pets) visible!
We'll be taking reservations for the rest of October, so come see the foliage from the water too!