Appalachian Trail Histories

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The Milesburn Shelter (now Cabin) is located in the Michaux State Forest in southern Pennsylvania and is maintained by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC). Built in 1930 as a park ranger cabin, Milesburn was converted to an Appalachian Trail shelter by the PATC a few years later. It is one of the locked cabins along the AT between Waynesboro, Virginia and Duncannon, Pennsylvania that hikers can reserve in advance for a fee.

Collection: Trail Shelters
Milesburn Shelter.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
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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
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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

The Ashby Gap Shelter in Northern Virginia was located just west of the village of Paris. Built by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club in the 1941 on a tract of private land, the shelter was torn down in 1955, when the AT was re-routed away from the site. The 1941 ATC Guide to the Paths of the Blue Ridge offers this description:
Ashby Gap Lean-to is situated in a clearing near the summit of the Blue Ridge on the northwest slope, a little over a mile south of Ashby Gap. It is close to the site of an old cabin.

Collection: Trail Shelters
Ashby Gap Shelter VA.jpg

This undated photograph shows hikers stopping at the Ney lean-to (shelter) at Ney's Gap near Schuylkill, Pennsylvania. This shelter has been removed, but was not far from the current Eagle's Nest Shelter.

Collection: Trail Shelters
Ney Lean-to.jpg

The Ashby Gap Shelter in Northern Virginia was located just west of the village of Paris. Built by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club in the 1941 on a tract of private land, the shelter was torn down in 1955, when the AT was re-routed away from the site. The 1941 ATC Guide to the Paths of the Blue Ridge offers this description:
Ashby Gap Lean-to is situated in a clearing near the summit of the Blue Ridge on the northwest slope, a little over a mile south of Ashby Gap. It is close to the site of an old cabin.

Collection: Trail Shelters
Ashby Gap Shelter.jpg

Pinefield Hut was built in the summer of 1940 in a style typical to Shenandoah National Park (VA) at this time--a stone base with a wooden roof. This shelter is maintained by Potomac Appalachian Trail Club.

Collection: Trail Shelters
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Pass Mountain Hut was built in 1939, and is constructed largely out of stone. It is located in Shenandoah National Park, on the east face of the mountains, about one mile north of Thornton Gap, where Highway 211 crosses Skyline Drive. Today the area around the shelter is heavily wooded, but when it was first built hikers had views up to Mary's Rock above Thornton Gap and into the foothills of Rappahannock County, Virginia. The Pass Mountain Hut was built and is still maintained by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club.

Collection: Trail Shelters
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Smith Gap Shelter (Pennsylvania) under construction in 1948. The was built by members of the Philadelphia Trail Club and was opened to hikers on June 12, 1949. The shelter was built on private land, but in the late 1960s the landowner decided to build a vacation home on the site and turned the shelter into a storage shed. At this time, the Delaware Valley Chapter of the AMC had taken over supervision of the Appalachian Trail in the area from the Philadelphia Trail Club, and Chapter members built a new shelter closer to the Trail in 1973. They dedicated the shelter to their long serving volunteer LeRoy Smith, who passed away shortly after the completion of the current structure.

Collection: Trail Shelters
Smith Gap Shelter (1948).jpg