Monte Sano State Park
|Monte Sano State Park|
|Alabama State Park|
Overlook view in the spring
|Elevation||1,608 ft (490 m) |
|Area||2,140 acres (866 ha)|
|Management||Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources|
|Website: Monte Sano State Park|
|Designated||June 19, 1996|
Monte Sano State Park is a publicly owned recreation area and mountaintop retreat encompassing 2,140 acres (870 ha) 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.
The name "Monte Sano" derives from the Spanish 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 Nature 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.
Activities and amenities
- Overnight stays: The park has 14 cabins constructed in the Arts and Crafts style, with hand-crafted stone fireplaces and original wood flooring. In addition, the campground has modern campsites for RVs and primitive campsites for tents.
- Picnicking: The picnic area overlooks a scenic valley and is adjacent to a modern playground for children.
- Trails: The park features over 14 miles (23 km) of hiking and mountain biking trails.
- Astronomy: Von Braun Astronomical Society runs the planetarium and observatory.
- "Monte Sano State Park". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
- "Monte Sano State Park". Alabama State Parks. Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Retrieved January 11, 2016.
- Ress, Thomas V. (August 11, 2015). "Monte Sano State Park". Encyclopedia of Alabama. Alabama Humanities Foundation. Retrieved January 11, 2016.
- "Monte Sano Nature Preserve". Land Trust of North Alabama. Archived from the original on February 7, 2015. Retrieved January 11, 2016.
- Brandau, Jean. "2004 Monte Sano Homes Tour: Historic CCC Cabin". About Travel: Huntsville, Alabama. About.com. Retrieved November 11, 2012.
- "The Alabama Register of Landmarks & Heritage". preserveala.org. Alabama Historical Commission. September 17, 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 28, 2013. Retrieved January 11, 2016.
- "Cabins: Monte Sano State Park". Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Retrieved January 11, 2016.
- "Camping: Monte Sano State Park". Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Retrieved January 11, 2016.
- "Trails: Monte Sano State Park". Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Retrieved January 11, 2016.
- Monte Sano State Park Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources