Appalachian Trail Histories

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

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 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 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 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