Appalachian Trail Histories

In 1930, the Carolina Appalachian Trail Club  was organized for the purpose of completing the western North Carolina segment of the Appalachian Trail. Its home was in Asheville. In 1931, the group merged with the Carolina Mountain Club, an organization founded in 1923 and still active today. This map of the Appalachian Trail and the North Carolina section of the Great Smoky Mountains was created that same year. The map was one of many collected by Horace Kephart (1862-1931).

Collection: Maps
Appalachian_Trail_in_North_Carolina (1).jpg

Howard Zahniser (1906-1964) was a long-time leader of the Wilderness Society and was the author of the original draft of the Wilderness Act of 1964, which now preserves more than 100 million acres of wilderness in the United States.

Collection: Builders

The Eastern Wilderness Act of 1975 expanded protections of the original Wilderness Act (1964) to a variety of wilderness areas in the Eastern United States. Of these, only the James River Face Wilderness in Virginia contained a portion of the Appalachian Trail, but over the coming decades a growing list of wilderness areas in the Appalachian Mountains included more and more of the Trail.

Collection: Legislation
Eastern Wilderness Act.pdf

As the Appalachian Trail was being constructed in the 1920s and 1930s, the various trail clubs at first used their own methods for blazing the Trail's route. However, it soon became clear that a common approach was needed to help hikers know how to stay on the new trail's path. The executive committee of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy agreed at its 1929 meeting to an official insignia for the trail blazes utilizing the now familiar AT logo.

Trail clubs experimented with several different means of marking the Trail, with the ATC ultimately settling on a galvanized metal marker like the one seen here. Ultimately, the metal markers were replaced by the now familiar (and easier to maintain) white blaze. This particular marker was photographed on the Trail north of Troutville, Virginia in 2016.


Mount Katahdin as seen from Daisy Pond (now Daicey Pond), photographed by Myron Avery. This image is from the Myron Avery Scrapbook Collection at the Maine State Library.

Collection: Iconic Locations
Katahdin Daisy Pond.jpg

Old Orchard Shelter, Appalachian Trail, Grayson Highlands State Park, August 17, 2014.

Collection: Trail Shelters
Old Orchard Shelter 2014.jpg

The Lula Tye Shelter, 1966. This shelter was built by the U.S. Forest Service in 1962 near the southern shore of Rock Pond in the Green Mountain National Forest. It is named for Lula Tye, who was the Corresponding Secretary of the Green Mountain Club from 1926-1955.

Collection: Trail Shelters
Lula Tye Shelter 1966.jpg

Bobblet's Gap Shelter, July 21, 2016. A typical light wood frame shelter was built by the U.S. Forest Service in 1961 and is named for a local farmer (Will Bobblet) who used to live nearby.

Collection: Trail Shelters
Bobblet's Gap 2016.jpg

Members of the Smoky Mountains Hiking Club enjoying the big chestnut tree stop, March 5, 1932. Before the Chestnut Blight wiped out almost all American Chestnut trees in the Eastern United States, trees of this size were not uncommon along the Appalachian Trail.

Chestnut Roth.jpeg

In 1938, the National Park Service published guidelines on the proper types of structures that should be built in the national parks. This booklet, authored by the architect Albert Good, was used by leaders of the Civilian Conservation Corps as guidance for the trail shelters they built along the Appalachian Trail during the 1930s. The description of the lean-to design reads, in part:

In New York State the Adirondack shelter is a tradition, a survival of the primitive shelter of the earliest woodsmen and hunters of this region. The end and rear walls are tightly built of logs, the front is open to the friendly warmth and light of the campfire. The roof slopes gently to the rear and sharply to the front to give a protective overhang.

The Adirondack shelter design was also used by the Appalachian Trail Conference in its guidance to member clubs in 1939 about the shelters they were building in the stretches of of the Trail they were responsible for.

Collection: Trail Shelters
CCC Shelters.jpg

Pit privy at Bobblet's Gap Shelter, July 21, 2016. This privy is one of the newer versions of the classic pit privy. It is larger, has a concrete floor, and is better ventilated.

Collection: Trail Shelters
Bobblet's Gap privy 2016.jpg

The pit privy at the Paul C. Wolfe Shelter (Virginia), July 26, 2016.

Collection: Trail Shelters
Paul C. Wolfe privy.jpg