Appalachian Trail Histories

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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

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
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

Members of one of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC) Shenandoah National Park trail crews creating water diversions on one of the many trails in the Park. Members of Appalachian Trail maintaining clubs devote hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours each year to the maintenance of the AT and its associated side trails.

Collection: Trail Clubs
PATC Trail Crew 2012.jpg

Leaving the bus on a PATC trip to Smoke Hole, West Virginia, April 19, 1936. PATC hiking trips during this era were often organized with bus service for members.

Collection: Trail Clubs
PATC Smokehole 1936.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

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

Walter D. Greene on the Appalachian Trail in Maine in the 1930s. Greene was the individual most responsible for the extension of the AT into Maine, cutting and blazing well over 100 miles of the eventual route of the Trail.

Collection: Builders
Walter Greene 1930s.jpg

Members of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC), Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club (RATC), and the Natural Bridge Appalachian Trail Club (NBATC) on a group hike to McAfee Knob, October 1935.

Collection: Iconic Locations
McAfee 1935.jpg