Appalachian Trail Histories

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The Bourn Pond Shelter was located on the shore of Bourn Pond in Vermont, on a former route of the Appalachian Trail, now known as the Stratton Pond Trail. This shelter is one of the cabin style shelters found along the Long Trail/Appalachian Trail and was built by the Green Mountain Club. It still exists, just no longer on the Appalachian Trail.

Collection: Trail Shelters
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The Bigelow Mountain Shelter, pictured here sometime in the 1950s, was removed from the Appalachian Trail in the 1960s. It is a typical version of the log sided Adirondack style lean-to favored by the early shelter builders. It was located just south of the current Horns Pond Shelter.

From the back of the image: "Lean-to on the Appalachian Trail on the conifer-covered slopes of Mt. Bigelow in Maine. Here the Appalachian Trail and the Bigelow Range Trails meet, affording a crest line route of 20 miles along Mt. Bigelow."

Collection: Trail Shelters
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The Big Flat Shelter in Shenandoah National Park, c. 1940s. This shelter was built by volunteers from the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club in the 1940s and was removed at some point in the 1960s due to the creation of the Loft Mountain Campground in the Park. Records on the exact location of the shelter are hazy at best. Those who have researched the location of the former shelter place it, most likely, at the site of the current amphitheater in the campground facility.

Collection: Trail Shelters
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The Mohawk No. 1 Shelter is located on the Mohawk Trail in the Mohawk State Forest, a trail that was the route of the Appalachian Trail in Central Connecticut until the 1980s. This shelter was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps sometime in the 1930s. The 1968 Guide to the Appalachian Trail in Massachusetts and Connecticut describes the shelter as having a fireplace and no bunks. Hikers had to obtain permission from the Forest Ranger in the Mohawk State Forest before camping there.

Collection: Trail Shelters
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The Wesser Creek Shelter was a traditional Adirondack style lean-to, located just north of Wesser Bald in the Nantahala region of North Carolina. This shelter no longer exists.

Collection: Trail Shelters
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The Earl Shaffer Shelter, pictured here in August 2008, was dedicated to Earl Shaffer, the first person to hike the entire Appalachian Trail in one year. Shaffer, who grew up nearby, eventually asked that his name be taken off the shelter in 1983, because he felt it had become "too fancy" after the addition of a wooden floor, replacing the old dirt floor. The Susquehanna Appalachian Trail Club disassembled this shelter in 2008, and it now resides at the Appalachian Trail Museum at Pine Grove Furnace State Park (PA).

Collection: Trail Shelters
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The Wayah Gap Shelter in the Nantahala Mountains, in the spring of 1961. The current shelter at this location (now known as the Wayah Shelter) is a more recent structure. The original shelter, pictured here, is a typical three-sided log structure with a dirt floor and a fireplace in front. The trash can in the foreground was typical at many back country shelters until the 1970s, when the trash cans were removed and hikers were expected to pack out what they packed in.

A hand drawn map of Wayah Bald by George Masa in 1932 offers an interesting window into the Trail in this region in its earliest days.

Collection: Trail Shelters
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This image depicts the original version of the Wawayanda Lean-to (shelter) in New Jersey in 1955. This original version of the shelter is a typical example of the three sided log and beam lean-to design that was typical of the early trail shelters. The current version of the shelter was built in 1990.

Collection: Trail Shelters
Wawayanda Lean-to 1955.jpg

This photograph of the Walnut Mountain Shelter from 1940 depicts the original version of the shelter. The current shelter at Walnut Mountain is a much newer structure and is maintained by the Carolina Mountain Club. This original structure was built from chestnut logs milled nearby and is one of several early trail shelters that had log rail fences around them to keep livestock out of the structure.

Collection: Trail Shelters
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The South River Shelter, pictured here just after its completion in the summer of 1940, is one of the original trail shelters built in Shenandoah National Park by the Civilian Conservation Corps. This shelter is no longer in use as a trail shelter and instead is used as a trail maintenance storage facility by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, which maintains all the shelters in the Park.

Collection: Trail Shelters
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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
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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
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