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.
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
Most campgrounds in Tennessee are buried in the woods, but not this yurt campsite at Ray of Hope. The yurt sets on the side of a beautiful Tennessee Hill offering almost a complete view of the nighttime sky. We watched the moon rise over a hill directly in front of the campsite, and we even saw a brilliant shooting star blaze across the sky for what seems like an eternity. The Ray of Hope campground is a private campground that went above and beyond our expectations. The yurt was clean, included battery powered lights and a LED lantern, and a full sized bed that made the night pass with ease. The campsite also offers free firewood and a large fire ring. There are two deck chairs at the campsite which are perfect for stargazing. The entrance of the yurt faces sunrise and the farm animals serenade you in the morning when the mist begins to burn off the valley. There is a well stocked outside shower surrounded by sweet smelling herbs. Water and a toilet are near the shower stall. The campsite is near the small town of Petersburg, TN where you can find two gas stations and a Dollar Store. If it's hot outside, you might want to bring a battery operated fan. This place is a perfect glamping experience for an extended date or weekend in beautiful Tennessee.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
We recently stayed in a cabin and it was enjoyable. There were white tail deer everywhere, chipmunks, a tiny ring neck snake on a trail,…Huntsville is very close and a neat little store just in town called Star Supermarket. The park staff were all helpful and friendly.
Some really nice sites on lake and shaded. Inner sites are nice as well and have sewer. Good space between sites. 30 and 50 amp. The old section that was for yearly rental is gone. Big plus because these are nice sites as well. Restrooms and showers were clean but could’ve better. Great place for kayaking and swimming. Roads in park have couple of bad spots but they have been working on them. Need to enforce their dog lease rules. Again Tennessee should update this park. Get with it ! The potential is great.
Has some nice sites. Very well shaded. 30 amp only. The park has great hiking trails. Restrooms were clean. Good fishing areas. There are dogs kept inside a fence at the park. Suppose this is at Rangers house. They bark a lot. Very annoying. Never seen this at a state park. Tennessee needs to update this park.
It was clean and mostly quiet but close to main roads so you can hear cars driving by. The showers and bathhouse were very clean and well maintained. The staff was very friendly and helpful. It’s not as secluded as I normally like but we went when it wasn’t busy so there were only two other campsites taken and everyone stayed spaced out. I would camp there again if I was in the area.
This is one of our go to campgrounds when we want a long weekend. This park has so much to offer. Hiking, fishing, boating, bike riding & swimming. There is not a morning that I don’t wake up to deer or turkey on the border of our campsite. A very family friendly atmosphere & always clean. When our kids were younger it was their favorite place bc there was not shortage of kids they could connect with. There are 2 campgrounds to choose from. The lower campground is on the creek while the upper campground sits in the woods. Both are great & have recently been upgraded so the sites are level. Sorry I don’t have pics but I’ll be sure to take plenty the next time we go.
I went hiking here back in December and thoroughly enjoyed it. The ground's store is a cute little place with pretty much anything you could need, including beer, refrigerated items, snacks, stickers and T-shirts. The Japanese Garden was a little tacky, but kind of had its own cute feel to it. There's a cool clearing where you can stand on a ledge and view down the mountainside or take a group photo. The hiking trail down the mountain is so stinking sweet. We saw bugs, rabbits, deer, and so many other plants and other aspects of nature. Definitely worth a trip!
Joe Wheeler campground is beautiful but when we went in early June it was packed with RVs, and most of the campsites around us had multiple vehicles/people at each site. The day use lake beach is wonderful. There were several places to launch a kayak, and the views on the river are hard to beat in the area. I don’t think I’ll camp there again, but I would definitely kayak or go to the lake beach on a day trip.
Stayed one night at Backcountry Site 1, and had the whole place to myself. Really manageable (and pretty) hike for an amateur camper like me with a bad back. Once I set up, I explored the river which was very nearby, and then did a little hiking. Lots of shade and from what I could tell, the facilities were really nice. Best part was definitely all the greenery on the river trail.
I first visited Monte Sano SP about a year ago, and it’s been one of my absolute favorite places in Alabama since. As a female I LOVE the staff and feel safe camping and hiking the trails throughout the park solo and with my dogs. Their are so many trails to choose from but the best part about the park, in my opinion is the fact the campsites in the primitive area are typically separated greatly by trees, so you get more a feeling of privacy. If I continue to type, it’ll turn into a book, but take my word for it, if you love nature, privacy and scenic views, Monte Sano is your place in Alabama.
We are in a 35’ 5th Wheel. Most sites easy access, some sites maybe tight for bigger Rigs.
Some sites have Full Hook-up, 50 amp. (Sewer not available on water sites.). This campground is family friendly. Great for kayaking, fishing, swimming, and family gathering.