Appalachian Trail Histories

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The Hawk Mountain Shelter in Georgia is located in the Chattahoochee National Forest, about eight miles north of the southern terminus of the Trail at Springer Mountain. As a result, it is often the first stop for northbound hikers. This image shows the shelter as it was in 1974. It has subsequently been rebuilt by the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club.

Collection: Trail Shelters
Hawk Mountain Shelter 03231974.jpg

The Wilson Gap Shelter was built in 1941, by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club's shelter crew. It was an atypical trail shelter, because it was built of stone, with an internal fireplace. This particular design happened because the landowner felt that such a structure would present less of a fire hazard on his land. It was the second trail shelter south of the Potomac River, near the present Blackburn Trail Center. It no longer exists, because by the late 1970s, its proximity to a county road meant it had become a party location for non-hikers. It was torn down in 1978.

Collection: Trail Shelters
Wilson Gap Shelter 06101974.jpg

The Three Springs Lean-to (shelter) in Northern Virginia was located on a stretch of the Trail just north of FEMA's Mount Weather Emergency Management base. This shelter no longer exists, because in the late 1970s the Trail was relocated away from the site and the shelter was torn down. It was maintained by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club.

Collection: Trail Shelters
Three Springs Shelter 06101974.jpg

The Birch Run lean-tos were built in 1934 by workers from the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the Michaux State Forest in Pennsylvania. Like other shelters in this stretch of the Trail, these lean-tos were constructed in pairs of smaller shelters, rather than as one larger shelter. The original structures were torn down in the 1980s, and replaced with a single, larger shelter. These shelters were and the new shelter is maintained by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC).

Collection: Trail Shelters
Birch Run Shelters 06241974.jpg

The Racoon Run Shelters in the Michaux State Forest (PA), were built by workers from the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in 1934. Smaller than the standard Appalachian Trail lean-tos built at this time, the paired shelters in this stretch of the Trail in Pennsylvania are unique along the Trail. The Raccoon Run Shelters were maintained by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, but they were torn down in the 1980s when the AT was relocated away from its current route. The Raccoon Run Shelters were among those too close to the road, and often frequented by non-hikers.

Collection: Trail Shelters
Racoon Run Shelters 1934.jpg

The Quarry Gap shelters in Michaux State Forest (now Caledonia State Park) were built in 1934 by workers from the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The trail shelters in Michaux State Forest at this time were unique in that they were built as pairs of smaller structures rather than one larger lean-to. At some point in their history, the Quarry Gap shelters were re-roofed with a single, continuous roof, providing shelter for hikers between the two structures. These shelters are maintained by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club.

Collection: Trail Shelters
Quarry Gap Shelter 09032017MK.jpg

The Mosby Shelter was located on the Appalachian Trail between Manassas Gap and Chester Gap in Northern Virginia. It was built in 1939 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, operating from their camp in Linden, Virginia, just north of the site of the shelter. Today, the location of the former shelter is called the "Mosby Campsite" and the nearby Tom Sealock Spring, which is one of the sources of the Rappahannock River.

The 1941 edition of the ATC's Guide to the Paths of the Blue Ridge  offers this description of the shelter:
Mosby Lean-to is situated on the edge of a clearing on the crest of the long spur extending to the east from High Knob, about half way between Manassas and Chester Gaps. A small settlement that formerly was in this locality is said to have been called "Mosby" because several of Colonel Mosby's rangers resided nearby.
In 1980, the Mosby Shelter was stolen. Hikers arrived at the site to find that the shelter had been dismantled and removed, likely for the chestnut logs that had been used in its construction. It was not rebuilt.

Collection: Trail Shelters
Mosby Shelter 1939.jpg

Trash left by hikers at the Wiggins Shelter in Virginia, May 1970. Increasing use of the Appalachian Trail by both casual and long distance hikers in the late 1960s and early 1970s led to a number of problems such as increasing amounts of litter, increasing vandalism, and degradation of the environment around trail shelters. One response of the ATC was to urge trail maintaining clubs to remove trash receptacles from shelters (note the trash barrel in this image). Another was to embark on much more aggressive educational campaigns, like the very successful Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics program. In due to overuse problems like those pictured here, the Wiggins Shelter was removed from the Trail.

Collection: Trail Shelters
Wiggins Shelter.jpg

Volunteer trail crew unloading pieces of what will become the George W. Outerbridge Shelter in Pennsylvania, October 1965.

Collection: Trail Shelters
Building Outerbridge.jpg

Chairback Gap Shelter (Maine) in the 100 Mile Wilderness. This shelter was originally constructed in 1954 by the Maine Appalachian Trail Club.

Collection: Trail Shelters
ME3-5023143.jpg

The Deer Lick Run Shelters in the Michaux State Forest in Pennsylvania were built after the removal of the Mackie Run Shelter in the early 1980s. Although these are newer structures, they are built in the same paired shelter style of many of the original lean-to shelters in this stretch of the Trail. These shelters are maintained by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC).

Collection: Trail Shelters
Deer Lick Shelters 09012017MK.jpg

The Three Springs Shelter was located in what is now known as the Roller Coaster section of the Appalachian Trail in Northern Virginia just north of the FEMA Mount Weather Operations Center. Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s on private land, the ownership of this shelter passed to the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC) in 1969, when the club purchased the shelter and 15 surrounding acres of land, including a section of the AT. This shelter no longer exists. 

The 1941 ATC Guide to the Paths of the Blue Ridge offers this description:
Three Springs Lean-to is situated in a small clearing near the summit of the Blue Ridge on its southeast slope one mile north of Mt. Weather. It occupies the site of the old Ashby farmhouse that had been built early in the nineteenth century. There is a chimney over the fireplace.
At that time, the Appalachian Trail was located on the east side of Blue Ridge Mountain Road, but was later re-routed onto the western side of the ridgeline.

Collection: Trail Shelters
Three Springs Shelter 1941.jpg