Monte Sano State Park, Huntsville

4.6
#2 of 6 in Parks in Huntsville
Monte Sano State Park is a publicly owned recreation area and mountaintop retreat encompassing on the eastern portion of the top and slopes of Monte Sano Mountain on the east side of Huntsville, Alabama. The state park has 1930s-era, Civilian Conservation Corps–built rustic cottages, hiking trails and picnic areas with scenic overlooks, and modern campsites. It is managed by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.HistoryThe name "Monte Sano" derives from the Italian for "mountain of health" and is the eponymous name of the mountain that is the main feature of the park. The name reflects the 19th-century tradition of sending diphtheria, cholera and yellow fever sufferers to retreats on the mountain. A week's stay at the Hotel Monte Sano, a three-story Queen Anne–style luxury health resort with 233 rooms that opened in 1877, cost $11 and included amusements like bowling, horseback riding, croquet and lawn tennis. A railway line built to carry patients up the mountain ran from 1888 to 1896 before going bankrupt. Remnants of the line may be seen in the adjoining Monte Sano Preserve operated by the Land Trust of North Alabama. The development of vaccines and treatments ended the era of health trips to the mountain.Workers with the Civilian Conservation Corps developed the park in the 1930s, constructing an amphitheater, lodge, and rustic cottages built in the Arts and Crafts style. The park officially opened on August 25, 1938. It was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage in 1996.
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Monte Sano State Park Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
336 reviews
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  • I’ve been hiking this mountain for over 25 years. My son grew up hiking this mountain as well. It’s a great place for camping, hiking, bikes, and even has a playground for kids. Always beautiful with ...  more »
  • High above Huntsville, this State Park is available for just about any outdoor experience: Hiking, picnicking, solitude, camping or cabin rental, biking, you name it. We (seniors) spent a couple of ho...  more »
  • A lovely place over looking all of Huntsville . A story of love ,romance ,class ,and history . Enjoy this place and feel the magic of love and devotion to ones work .  more »
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  • We camp here for at least a week at a time twice a year. The hiking trails are great, the camping area is nice, on weekends during football season it gets crowded, but during the week it hasn't been crowded. There is a nice playground also. We haven't been to a planetarium show yet, but our son has and he liked it and recommended it. We are from Florida and there is always a charge to get into the state parks there, so the charges don't bother us, although camping includes admission to the park. We have been coming for 6 years, they are restoring the tea gardens and we are glad for that, it will be very nice when it's finished.
  • I love this State Park. Hiked a trail with my brother and his wife. Arrowhead trail. It was awesome for my first time. This state park is huge and had tons of trails. It would take weeks to do everyone of them and if I had the time I would. Definitely want to go back and see and hike more of the trails when I have more time.. it is definitely beautiful and I can't wait to get back to it. Some of the most beautiful scenery I've seen in awhile, trails full of luscious greens to vibrant colors of miss on downed trees, to mini cliffs that you can scale up, there is something for each and everyone to do at this park. Ever in Huntsville do yourself a favor and support and Explore your state park. I promise you won't regret it. Also please pick up after yourselves, Keep your parks beautiful, Leave no trace!
  • Spectacular! This state park is managed so well, park personnel are very friendly and helpful. My original interest on Montesano was for trail walking, but is also perfect and safe for trail runners and bikers. Very respectful and friendly environment. Hiking around the park, I saw really nice cabins, a lodge with a spectacular playground for kids and many campers. This is a safe place to enjoy with kids and family. The park entry and fees are based on an honor system. Paid $5.00 per person, I did not understand stand the system at first so I slipped $10.00 loose which felt awkward initially, but then found envelopes with an attached slip you hang in your card. Is now clear for the next visit! 👍 Pros: - Easy drive. - Plenty of parking - A great variety of trails for all levels and distance - Trails are well marked - A descent park store with very helpful and friendly attendants. You can get a Map at this store. Restrooms by the store - Plenty of spectacular picnic areas! - Found several scenic areas with beautiful views Cons: - I found NO negative aspects at Montesano State Park. Just found the payment format a little confusing for first time visitors, specially when you have other cars waiting. But once you understand the expected format of payment, you are on the clear for the next visit. I will highly recommend this State Park, and will be back often! 😋
  • I love this place for hiking. Every season brings it's gifts. I wish there were a lake up there!
  • Always a beautiful place to be, regardless of what time during the year you come. Gorgeous nature trails, a spacious park, and a recently updated campground are only a few of the expanding amenities Monte Sano has to offer.

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Where to stay in Huntsville

A few independently owned bed and breakfasts and hotels can be found in the town's historical districts, but most rooms are in large, modern, chain hotels that offer both standard and extended-stay rooms. These chain hotels often have rooms for walk-in guests. The bed and breakfasts in the city center require advance reservations.
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