25 Scouts and adults spent the night at Monte Sano State Park. They give Scouts a reduced rate of $1/person/night.
Registration and payment is done at the Monte Sano Country Store. The campsites are set up in long loop. The first 3/4 of the loop will be campsites with improvements. The last 1/4, the top of the loop, is primitive camping. Even with primitive camping, each site is right next to the gravel access road, and each site is numbered. The entrance to the site is controlled by an electronic gate. You'll have to have the entry code from the camp store to drive in. They give you the code when you register.
The State Park folks will only allow two vehicles per camp site. They're pretty serious about it. We saw a Ranger's truck working around the site Sunday.
The rest rooms are near the top of the improved campsite section, and they have showers and good, clean sanitation faciltiies. The restrooms are well-heated, a definite plus in cold weather. A hot shower in a heated room was a great way to start a 19 degree day.
There are fire pits in each campsite, and there was plenty was dry firewoood on the ground. Due to the weather, we were the only tent campers there, although there were probably 15 RV type campers scattered around the improved part of the loop.
We set up camp during a snow flurry, and most of the night it was 23-24 degrees F. The temp dropped to 19 degrees around sun-up Sunday morning.
The top of Monte Sano has a great view of Huntsville, which lies at the bottom of the mountain. We could see the city glittering below from our campsite. It was a stunning sight.
There's a small observatory on the grounds. It was closed when we went by, but I'd think the view from there on a clear night would be grand. I don't have any other info on this, but I have the idea that Scouts working on the Astronomy merit badge would find this to be a beneficial place.
The path we took to Monte Sano was to go to Decatur, AL , then take I-565 to Huntsville. Pass the Space Center on the right, then take a right turn on Governor's Drive (about two exits away). Keep to the right (east), pass the hospital complex, and there are clear signs on the left directing you to Monte Sano. Monte Sano is about a ten minute drive from the Space and Rocket Center.
Governor's Drive is the same as Highway 431.
There are two churches, one Baptist, the other United Methodist, on the road leading into the park. There are several Catholic churches within a ten minute drive of the campsites. Our troop attended services at one of the local churches, and got a very warm welcome from the congregation.