The City of Alto is located in Cherokee County Texas on U.S. Highway 69 and Texas Highways 21 and 294. It lies between Rusk to the north and Lufkin to the south. To the west is the City of Palestine, and to the east is Nacogdoches.
Alto was laid out in 1849 and named for the Spanish word meaning "high," due to the site's elevation on a drainage divide between the Neches and Angelina Rivers. Located on El Camino Real, the Old San Antonio Road, Alto prospered with its assortment of essential businesses needed by those traveling the road. The Kansas and Gulf Short Line Railroad arrived in Alto in the mid 1880s.
Today, cattle ranching, oil and gas, and lumber are its chief industries and businesses in the Alto area. Tourism is also an important entity, with many visitors touring the Caddo Mounds State Historic Site.
|Population||1,027 residents in the 2020 Federal Census|
Caddo Mounds State Historic Site
More than 1,200 years ago, a group of Caddo Indians known as the Hasinai built a village 26 miles west of present-day Nacogdoches. The Caddo selected this site for a permanent settlement about A.D. 800. The alluvial prairie possessed ideal qualities for the establishment of a village and ceremonial center: good sandy loam soil for agriculture, abundant natural food resources in the surrounding forest and a permanent water source of springs that flowed into the nearby Neches River.
Today, three earthen mounds still rise from the lush Pineywoods landscape, where visitors discover the everyday life and the history of this ancient civilization.
Caddo Mounds State Historic Site is a prehistoric village and ceremonial center located on the original El Camino Real de los Tejas. Visitors can walk the 0.7 mile self-guided interpretive trail that includes the grass house, mounds, and borrow pit. An additional 0.4 mile interpretive self-guided trail along El Camino Real de los Tejas allows visitors to learn about the historic road and see a piece of the original road. Self-guided tours of Caddo Mounds typically take 1.5 hours, and guided tours are 1.5 - 2+ hours depending on selected activities. The site has two golf carts available on request for those who do not wish to walk the trails. Visitor parking is available on site.
The historic site is located about six miles west of Alto, at Weeping Mary. The official address is 1649 State Highway 21 West, Alto, Texas, 75925. Phone 936.858.3218.
||Caddo Mounds State Historic Site
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While visiting the Alto area, you may want to take other interesting day trips in several directions:
Lufkin is located about 30 miles south of Alto, and has several motels, hotels and other accommodations.