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Decatur, ALABAMA

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Mountain views

This is my new favorite park close to home. Monte Sano is located in Huntsville but you would never know it once get get up here. It is so peaceful. The sites are shady & far enough apart that you feel like you have a little privacy. And if you love to hike then this is the park for you. Wonderful trails that are clearly marked. There is a trail for all skill levels so you can decide how intense you want and how long you want to hike. There are several sites on the edge of the mountain that offer stunning views but they go quick so it’s hard to get those. The same with the few sites that offer full hookups. Having sewage isn’t that big of a deal for us but it is nice to have. We came up here last summer & there was literally a 10° difference in temperature when we got to the top of the mountain. So even in the heat of summer it’s pleasant up here. If you like to venture out there is plenty to do in Huntsville & several great places to eat. The bathhouse could stand to be updated but it’s usually clean & the water is hot so I’m happy.

Long term

Down here working for a few months and wanted a clean quiet safe place. This place is all the above. The owners are very nice and helpful. Will definitely stay here when ever I'm down here again working. $450 a month including utilities. No pool. Does have a laundry room. Pond on site.

Pretty good

We got a tent site with power. Great price! Clean park, lake is always a good thing. Lights at camp ground kinda bright, but guess if I needed to go pee that would help lol. Lady working office was pretty nice and helpful. Has a little store can get almost anything you might need. Bath house shower had great hot water with good pressure. Felt safe here that’s important. I’d definitely come back. Probably next weekend lol the beach area had a lot of rocks! Probably due to water level low had to go buy some water shoes, but then it was all good.

Free Camping on TVA land

I assumed for a long time that you weren't allowed to camp on the TVA trails, because while there are many hikers and birdwatchers who enjoy the trails, you rarely see anyone camping out there. I learned recently, and confirmed through their website, that you can camp for free on TVA land. It just isn't well advertised. This particular trail is a great area, and there are many little side trails to explore. Plenty of places to make a primitive campsite. Many of the side trails lead to the river. There is even a small beach area down the one that leads along the river to the old train bridge. This trail is rich in history, and there are a lot of plaques telling about certain natural and man made features along the trails. The trails are clean, well-kept, and well-marked. At the trail head and parking area, there is a nice well-kept, clean restroom building with flush toilets. Behind that building, they recently put in a very nice playground and a pavilion with picnic tables. There are not really any ready made campsites with tables or firepits or trash cans, but there are plenty of benches and trash cans along the trails. I highly recommend going to the train bridge. There are also small plaques around some of the plants telling what they are and a little about them. If you want a beautiful, primitive camping area, with nice, fairly modern facilities nearby, this is a great place to go. Also, keep in mind there are several trail heads along this road, and you could potentially start out at any of them, but the particular trail head I mentioned has the best restroom facilities and a wonderful playground. Most of the others only have a parking area.

Closed campground but nice to visit park

As far as I know the campground is closed, but its a pretty little park with a small playground, bathrooms, grills, and pavilions. Also has war aircraft displayed you can walk around and see and its free. So if you are in the area (possibly camping at McFarland Park) you can take the family and go see the war crafts. Picnic tables, areas to walk. Lots of woodland.

Good for Kids

This campground is in my hometown of Florence, AL. It is right on the Tennessee River and it is a very large park/ campground. There is a marina, RV and tent campsites, a playground near the campground, and on the other side of the marina is another playground. There is the River Bottom Grill at the Marina. There is also a small sandy beach between the marina and campground. Showers and toilets are available. This park is where our city holds its annual 4th of July celebration, so if you camp there during 4th of July expect literally hundreds and hundreds of people. Lots of boat traffic at the marina, but its pretty far from the campground. There are also lots of other events here year round, so check before you go to make sure you either won't be there during an event, or the huge crowds won't bother you. Lots of woodland. Within city limits. downtown Florence is about 5 mins from the campground. I don't know if that's good or bad for you, but this is not a campground for those looking to really get out away from everything. It's a great place to take small kids for a weekend campout. There are grills, picnic tables, bathrooms, and pavilions throughout the park. For being a city park, it is quite pretty and the views of the river are great. To get to the campground, when you go into the park, keep to the right of the marina, and drive all the way back and around to the right. You'll go past the parking area for the little beach, and there should be signs. You'll see a playground and pavilion to your left right on the water and that means you're entering the campground.

Basic campground

I have things I love and hate about this campground. Personally, I'd rather just hike into the woods throughout TVA reservation and camp for free, but this campground does have bathrooms and a good playground for the kids. There is also a pretty nice waterfall down a "road" (limited to foot traffic and officials). However, it is way too busy and "paved" for my liking. LOTS of visitors and fisherman down here most of the time. Lots of people leave trash/fishing line/etc. The campsites look out at the river but they just aren't very pretty. right beside the parking lot. You can see the dam from here. Much better in my opinion to go out on one of the nearby trails and camp off the trail. If you drive down reservation road, in the opposite direction of the dam, you will find several trailheads with parking areas. The pics I'm posting are from these trails in TVA reservation.

Pretty trail, Lots of primitive campsites

The entire Sipsey Wilderness is gorgeous, but if you want a trail with lots of great spots to camp, this trail is fantastic. Don't expect bathrooms or drinking water to be nearby, but if you're looking to really get away from it all and do some primitive camping, this is a great place to go. You'll find fire pits at most of the sites that previous campers have made, but that's about it. Most of the time, except during dry spells, there are LOTS of waterfalls. Also lots of shallow places for the kids to play in the water. Watch for snakes and bring bug spray. If you want a good campground in Bankhead National Forest near Sipsey that is more modern with a bathhouse, picnic tables, etc, try Brushy Lake. But this trail is perfect for primitive camping.

Beautiful, One of a Kind Place

My family has been going to Dismals Canyon since I was a child, and my mother's parents took her when she was a child. Now I take my children. The reason we return year after year is that it is absolutely gorgeous, and is one of the few places in the world where you can see the tiny glow worms called Dismalites. When you first arrive, you go down to the little general store that now has a cafe. I have not eaten at the cafe, so I can't attest to the quality of the food, but I can say everyone who has worked there has always been very friendly and knowledgeable about the canyon. Here you will pay for your campsite and/or your canyon access. Day tours are self guided, but the night tours to see the dismalites are guided. The campground is relatively expensive, for our area anyway, but it is very clean and beautiful, and each campsite we have visited has been very private. There is a nice bathhouse for campers. Each campsite also provides garbage cans and a fire pit. They DO NOT let you bring in firewood, but you can get firewood there. Also you cannot park right next to your site, you will have to park in the parking area and walk to your site. All of their rules are very strict, but they do so to preserve the park in a clean, natural state. There is a nice fairly deep reservoir to swim in, as well as creeks and streams throughout. Also waterfalls, giant trees, and many neat rock structures. The trail through the canyon is not terribly difficult. I hiked it with my 2 year old strapped to my back the last time we went, and my 62 year old mother and 5 year old in tow. The hardest part is really the long stairs going into and out of the canyon. The cost is really the only reason I gave this 4 stars instead of 5. Bring bug spray.

We'll Be Back!

Corinth Recreation Area– USFS 

Corinth Recreation area is located near the town of Double Springs, Alabama. The area is operated and maintained by the United State Forest Service (USFS) and can be reserved through www.recreation.gov. There are 52 total sites here and most reserved on line, there are a few sites only available as walk ins. This area is very clean and really quiet at night, the campgrounds are near the lakes edge but not lakeside. The sites are very well maintained, paved and gravel with full services including sewer. There are two RV campgrounds, Firefly and Yellowhammer. We stayed at Yellowhammer as this had more shaded sites than Firefly. There’s also a few tent only sites between the two loops. The bathrooms were clean and the staff was pleasant during our visit, we stayed five days and found so much to see near by the campground. There is very nice boat ramp on the park for easy access to Smith Lake, the beach area is also a great asset. Clean with a well-marked swimming area with bathrooms near the beach area. 

The Houston Jail (http://soloso.com/houston/) was a few miles away, this is the only surviving jail constructed from logs in 1818. It’s a historical landmark and worth the short drive to go and see. 

Natural Bridge Park (https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/alabama/natural-bridge-al/) is located in Natural Bridge, Alabama is also nearby. This rock formation is the longest sandstone natural rock bridge east of the Rocky Mountains. It’s a good hike through well marked trails and there is a small gift shop that also sells refreshments.

Dismals Canyon (https://www.dismalscanyon.com/) is thirty miles from the campground near the town of Phil Campbell, Alabama. This natural formation will make you question if you are really in Alabama. The hike is a good way to spend the day in a shaded but humid natural wonder. You can also attend a night hike to see the dismalites that only reside in a few places in the world. 

The Bankhead National Forest surrounds the entire area. The forest is huge and trying to visit the area waterfalls and trails without a plan is not recommended. Take the time to study the area maps and map the accessible roads before heading out. We actually stopped by the NSFS Office to ask for information, there was also a large map of the area there you can take a picture of that will help you with your planning. 

We had a wonderful time here at Corinth, we especially liked the campground and the deer that would come out to graze every evening. This coupled with the fireflies really made this stay memorable, we’ll be back.

Best Kept Secret in North Alabama

Monte Sano State Park offers: 21 Primitive(tent only) campsites, 59 Water& Electric sites, and 15 Full- Hook-Up sites. Monte Sano sits on 2,140 acres with spectacular vistas from atop the mountain, especially when the fall leaves show off their colors. In the spring, native azaleas bloom along the 20 miles of hiking trails and 14 miles of biking trails. Quite campground. Great Camp Hosts, very friendly and helpful ranger staff. This is the best kept secret in North Alabama. Lots of activities within just 20 miles from campground. Beautiful views and trails(from easy to advanced). Biking trails are awesome. Every site has it all. https://youtu.be/I_84tyldNNw

MONTE SANO STATE PARK HUNTSVILLE, ALABAMA

Monte Sano State Park offers: 21 Primitive(tent only) campsites, 59 Water& Electric sites, and 15 Full- Hook-Up sites.

Monte Sano sits on 2,140 acres with spectacular vistas from atop the mountain, especially when the fall leaves show off their colors. In the spring, native azaleas bloom along the 20 miles of hiking trails and 14 miles of biking trails.

Quite campground. Great Camp Hosts, very friendly and helpful ranger staff. 

This is the best kept secret in North Alabama. Lots of activities within just 20 miles from campground.

Beautiful views and trails (from easy to advanced). Biking trails are awesome.

Every site has it all.

https://youtu.be/I_84tyldNNw

So Much to Do at Monte Sano.

We visited Monte Sano State Park in the middle of summer (June) and stayed in the campground for five nights. We made our reservations through the Alabama State Parks web reservation portal at https://guestrez.megasyshms.com/5Q5BT for campground and cabin rentals. 

The campground is located near the city of Huntsville, Alabama to the east. The park was easily accessible and the drive from the city to the park was not typical as it takes you though some of Huntsville’s neighborhoods before arriving to the park’s entrance. Once we arrived we went directly to the visitor’s center where the staff was friendly and organized. Our paperwork was already completed so the check in process was quick but very informative. We also received the gate code for the campground as the gate is electronically operated and closes after every opening to provide a welcomed level of security. We stayed in site 25 of the first loop, the park was not crowded in the campground as the summer temperatures were near extreme highs. The camp sites are very well spaced and there’s enough trees and underbrush to offer privacy. There are a few sites that have full hookups but most are without sewer. The park map I’ve included shows the ones with full hook up services. The bath houses were clean and orderly, the staff came by in the mornings to clean and restock. There are two camper/tent loops with rest rooms and showers at each. One tent only loop with no facilities but beautiful large sites. 

The park has several scenic areas where the views of the mountains are great and provides a nice place to sit and ponder. There's also an operational Planetarium on the park sponsored and operated by the Von Braun Astronomical Society (https://www.vbas.org/). There are shows on Saturday’s at 7:30PM with an admission or $5.00 for adults and $3.00 for students. You will need to get there early though as parking is limited but worth the effort to visit. 

There are miles and miles of bike and hiking trails here, on the weekend it’s amazing how many cyclists come here to ride the trails. Some of the trails are very aggressive and some moderate for those of us that want this pace, the parks paved roads also offer a good place for a casual ride in the evenings. 

All in all, we really enjoyed this park and will add this to our return list in the future. I also have to recommend a visit to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center (https://www.rocketcenter.com/) in Huntsville, you won’t be disappointed.

Closed permanently

Closed permanently

Riverside camping!

Love camping by the river in gunnersville! And the people there are usually quiet friendly!! :)

They are building campgrounds currently

No campgrounds yet but the day area and boating area is very nice. Would definitely reccomend to anyone.

Very friendly and clean

This campground is ran by good people. The restrooms and grounds are kept very clean. They ride around to keep watch so no worries about anything. Would recommend to anyone.

A hidden gem

This is a wonderful park that is worth the time and effort to visit. We’ve gone here a few times now as it’s one of our favorites on a hot summer day. The temperature inside the cave stays a cool 62 degrees and the paths through the cave are wide and paved. The tours take about two hours and we’ve never seen it crowded, the guides are very knowledgeable and entertaining. The price to see the cave is $19.00 per person and the tours are started at 10:00, 12:00, 14:00 and 16:00, be sure to go to the office to obtain you tickets before the tour starts.

There is a small campground here that as a limited number of sites with 30 amp electricity, water but no sewer. The sites are not reservable yet so call beforehand for availability. There are also tent camping sites and a bath house for the campground. We like it here and will come again in the future.

Awesome home

Me and my 6 year old daughter hiked the trail this past Saturday, July 27, 2019. Had a great time. Definately be back

Beautiful and Convenient to Huntsville

We stayed 4 nights in our 23 foot Airstream in site 14, a pull-thru, with our 2 kids, ages 5 and 13. A hiking trail that leads to the Japanese garden runs directly behind the site and it is close to the bath house, but not too close 😉 The Japanese garden is small but lovely and definitely worth the short walk.

Nearly every site was full while we were there (because of the city wide celebration of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing), but it never felt crowded and everything remained clean and well stocked. We attended a show at the planetarium, they run every Saturday. The 13 year old and I enjoyed it but the 5 year old and my husband found it excruciatingly boring. If space and astronomy aren't your thing, don't go 😂 On clear nights you are invited to look through the telescope. The view from the overlook just past the planetarium is not to be missed.

We had zero Verizon service at site 14 but it was nice to unplug. If we wanted to check the weather or email we just took a quick bike ride to the sites on the bluff or to the camp store. The store doesn't stock much but there's a great little family owned grocery store, Star Market, at the bottom of the mountain. We got pizzas and some hot items from the deli. Everything we tried was good!

We took an afternoon to tour Cathedral Caverns which is about 20 miles away. If you are even remotely interested in caves or nature or pretty things DO NOT MISS IT! There are not words enough to express the spectacular beauty of the caverns. There's a paved path the entire way, making it accessible to everyone regardless of physical capability. They offer a golf cart tour to those unable to walk the 1.5 miles. It's wide open and triggered none of the anxiety I typically feel in a cave.

Back to the camp ground… lots of wild life to see. Tame-ish deer wander among the camp sites and snack nightly at the camp host's site. Mind the 15 mph speed limit! They are not bashful about giving tickets. Very friendly staff. We'll definitely be back

Very quiet

No shade but a very clean campground.

One complaint

This was a pretty campground. Very clean…didn’t go to bathhouse but did see laundry area and bathroom area and it was very clean. Our only complaint was our pull through site. Our slide is on the left side and if opened would have been almost in the road. It was however overlooking the lake.

T’s outback

Very nice campground The owner is so helpful. It was tight but the owner helped us get backed in at 6:30 pm on a Sunday. Very much under priced for what this park is. I’m here for work but would come to have a great get a way. Not many aminities as far as pool and such but super nice level spots. And very quiet

Big campground on the lake

This is a work in progress as I just added this campground and will review as the days progress! So far, it is reasonably priced. It does require a BCDA permit which is $10 a person to make use of the lake and creeks.

There are RV plots with electric and water hook-ups and tent camping too. We have an Airstream on one site and three tents on another.

A picnic table is available at each site and campfire spots. Our sites overlook the lake and it is lovely so far. Super busy for the July 4 weekend!

First to Review
I’ll pass

Campground is now leased out to KOA rates have skyrocketed and is now an additional charge if you want power. Park is not kept up and bath house is in need of major repairs.

First to Review
Negative 5

This is not a campground. It’s a mobile home park and I would be afraid to park my camper here!

Parking lot

This is your typical military PCS campground for people in transit. No shade! Cement pads to park on. A laundry room, pavilion and showerhouse. There is a dog park and you are off the beaten path. Which makes it a little difficult to find the first time. But when you do your like “Duh! It was right here.” So useful for an overnight if you have a military/retired ID.

Always something new

Ranger Review: Aftershokz at Monte Sano State Park, Huntsville, Alabama

Campground Review: First before I get into my review, I am TOTALLY BIAS at Monte Sano SP ! I LOVE this park, the only thing that could make it better is if there was a lake or attached watercourse. The hiking is moderate to extreme up and down some interesting rock formations. The mountain bikers and bikers seem to enjoy themselves too, flying down the closed roadway or the steep roadways and challenging themselves on the rocky terrain. I’ve been several years now and still haven’t gotten around to all the trails. The campground is laid out in two loops and a dirt loop for tent campers. I was in site 19 which was in the way back, unfortunately near a “pond” so a few mosquitoes were about. Otherwise pretty spacious sites. I hung my hammock and could have put up a tent. Pretty quiet though the campground was close to full. The showerhouse has a pay washer and dryer in the front. Older building but well maintained. Coded gate entry and plenty of trail access right from the campground. Some excellent overlooks a cool waterfall hike and an adjacent land grant. I’ve run several trail runs here and you always see something new. I also found ANOTHER excellent hole in the wall restaurant in addition to several others in the area. https://www.poboyfactory.com/ Worth checking out ! Monte Sano SP has so much to do you could easily spend an extended time there and not be bored, unless you want to be. I mentioned water at the start of this review, though there are no water sports within the park there is more then one option available not very far away. Definitely worth visiting again!

Product Review: As a Dyrt Ranger I get to review interesting products. I had the most excellent mission of trying out Aftershokz https://aftershokz.com/pages/technology. I am not a fan of headphones, they don’t fit well in my ears, they are in my ears, I can’t hear anything else, SO I don’t use them. Enter the Aftershokz! Different take on headphonz, on their site you can read about how they work, in laymen terms (my take) the Aftershokz sits on your bone and the vibrations create the sounds that you hear….It makes sense to me but you should read the information on the site, lol. So anyway, nothing in my ear, I can hear what’s going on around me and no worries of them falling out of your ears. I wore my Aftershokz for a trail-race in Monte Sano SP. Once I put them on I pretty much forgot they were there. I could hear my music and hear what what was going on around me. The sound level is adjustable on the headphone. I also checked the reception distance while working in my backyard. I had good sound at about 50 yards without anything in between. Rechargeable, flexible and sweat proof are additional plus’s.

Clean, Quiet, Comfortable

My son Charlie(age 8) and I camped at Cathedral Caverns State Park on June 17, 2019. It was a Monday night. We chose one of the primitive campground sites and paid a little under$20 for one night. Since we were camping we received a discount on our cave tour the next day. It's worth noting that all of the primitive and RV campsites are outside of the state park’s main gates which means that anyone can easily enter or leave the camp at anytime day or night; however, two state employees live fulltime within walking distance of the campsites. It was encouraging to know that help was only steps away if we needed it. One of the rangers actually stopped and introduced himself while making his early evening round. He verified that I had registered at the camp, informed me that it might rain that night, and wished us a good evening. A father and son also drove through the campground about that time in a personal car. I expected him to camp, but later when we went for a walk, we didn’t find him. On our walk we went down to the restrooms gathering kindling in large, reusable grocery bags. We also brought our one gallon water jug. It’s quite a walk to the restroom and unless you are driving, it would be unreasonable to rely on it as your bathroom. Bring a camping toilet or a shovel. The RV sites are right next to the restrooms, which means that if you are in the primitive site it is very unlikely that you will hear RV generators all night. There were no RVs there on our night because the sites were being overhauled and it was closed though the restrooms were still up and running. The restrooms were very clean and spacious with clean, new shower curtains and it was fully stocked with supplies. I can’t say if the water was hot, but my suspicion is that it probably was since the rest of the facility is well kept. Back to the kindling: There’s plenty to be had and we even found four or five logs left by our campsite by a previous camper. Speaking of firewood, there’s plenty of that for sale for a reasonable$10.00 at the restroom facility. Money’s left in a box on the honor system. After cooking two cans of Southgate chili on an improvised Sweedish fire using the charitable camper’s firewood, we played in the field which was easily accessible from the primitive campsite. It’s guarded by a feral but entertaining cat who has an appetite for small rabbits. He almost caught one when he chased it through the campsite and under the picnic table where we happened to be eating supper. I’m not sure if he ever caught him but the last time I saw them they were running through the campsite like the wind. The campsite was simple. There was a fire ring and an old picnic table. You might want to bring a table cloth along or use a tarp if you’re doing more than heating up canned chili. The site was clean as was the entire park. I was easily able to back into the site with a 2007 Trailblazer. Though we had planned on tent camping, we ended up sleeping in the Trailblazer. Dad brought the tent, but he forgot the poles. All of the sites were clean and would have made wonderful tent sites. They were spaced adequately apart to provide a sense of privacy though if you’re pooping in a bucket you might have to be strategic in your temporary John placement. I don’t think my wife would have liked the bathroom situation at all and it might have been a bigger issue for Charlie and me if there’d been anyone else on the campground. We were the sole campers at Cathedral Caverns during our visit. We weren’t the only people using the park though. There were plenty who come to see the cave which true to its name feels like a Cathedral. I’ve been in a few tourist caves but there’s something different about this one. Our tour guide did a great job not only telling us about the beauty and history of the cave, but helped us to imagine one of the caves first explorers and its benefactor Mr, Gurly. If that description doesn’t make you want to visit, here’s this: Legend says there’s a ledge in the cave and if you toss a coin and land it right on the ledge you get your wish. After I tossed my dime I regretted instantly not wishing for a billion instead of a million dollars. I was assured by the tour guide that I could expect my check any day now, so the star review might change depending on how quickly the check rolls in.

Great overnight spot

Easily accessible spot to overnight. Close to Sipsey Wilderness and several waterfalls. Clean and quiet. Short paved walking trail, fishing pier, restrooms/showers.