The Saunders-Monticello Trail currently stretches 2 miles along the south side of the Thomas Jefferson Parkway (Rt. 53) and across Saunders Bridge to the David M. Rubenstein Visitor Center and Smith History Center. Comprised partly of on-grade sections made of finely crushed, packed stone and partly of raised boardwalk, the trail is open to pedestrians, cyclists, and to those in wheelchairs. With a maximum grade of five percent, the trail is completely accessible as it climbs steadily from the trailhead parking lot to a point just across the road from the entrance to Monticello.
The newly constructed Saunders Bridge is now open to vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists, and wheelchairs, allowing all visitors to cross safely onto the Monticello grounds. Both the trail and the bridge are named in grateful recognition of a gift from Mr. and Mrs. Thomas A. Saunders III. Mr. Saunders is a former chairman of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation's Board of Trustees.
As it winds its way up the side of a steep mountain (Carter Mountain), the trail offers dramatic scenery of towering, native hardwood forest, deep ravines and panoramas of the Piedmont and Blue Ridge Mountains. The design of the trail was inspired, in part, by Thomas Jefferson's description of how he wished to present the spectacular views from Monticello: "Of prospect I have a rich profusion.it may be successively offered, & in different portions through vistas. with the advantage of shifting scenes as you advance on your way."
In addition to the Saunders-Monticello Trail, Parkway users can enjoy further trails through parts of Secluded Farm, a 100-acre property to the south of Kemper Park.