Appalachian Trail Histories

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The Blackrock Hut (Shelter) is located in the southern district of Shenandoah National Park and is an example of the "hut" style of shelter, built from stone and logs. This shelter was completed in June 1941 and the current shelter is the original structure from 1941.

This particular image depicts a moment in the history of the park and its trail shelters when hikers were banned from overnight camping at or within site of the shelters. The sign leaning against the wall reads, "Overnight camping at or within sight of this shelter is prohibited." The camping prohibition was the result of the Park Superintendent's concern that the AT shelters had become party locations for Park visitors. His closure of the shelters was a point of contention between the Park and the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club throughout the 1970s, after which the camping ban was relaxed.

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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Thru hiker Julius Bruggeman passing through Shenandoah National Park, June 12, 1970. Unlike most Appalachian Trail hikers, Bruggeman made his own pack and much of his other gear.

Collection: Hikers
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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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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
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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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An account of a ten-day trip on the Appalachian Trail by Ben Beck of the Maryland Appalachian Trail Club. Beck and his friend Herb Robertson hiked from Harper's Ferry south to the Skyland Resort in the newly created Shenandoah National Park between June 13-23, 1935, a total of 79 miles.

At that time there were only a few shelters (Sexton, Meadow Spring, Range View) available for their use, so they either camped under the stars, in the ruins of abandoned houses, or stayed in bunks at CCC work camps.

Trail conditions varied widely during their hike, from recently cleared and well-maintained, to almost impossible. "The trail was bad this morning. Very rough and uncleared. Berry bushes and ferns up to your shoulders…All the springs along here are classified as intermittent. Damned intermittent if you ask me. They’re all dry."

Their diet consisted mostly of onion and bacon sandwiches, canned peaches, dried fruit, and instant noodle soup, and whatever they could purchase at stores they passed along the way.

Collection: Hikers
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Myron Avery on Hawksbill Mountain in Shenandoah National Park with his famous measuring wheel. Avery was rarely without his wheel when he was on the trail.

Collection: Builders
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Cornstalks sit in the yard of this Appalachian home- a reminder of the corn-based diet of the majority of mountain residents.

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This is what the Appalachian Trail looks like within Virginia's famous Shenandoah National Park. It looks quite easy, however the fallen leaves of autumn have disguised hidden roots and rocks that make this trail quite difficult to traverse without the right kinds of hiking boots.

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This is an image of the wilderness located right off the famous highway, Skyline Drive, in Shenandoah National Park. This particular spot is unique for the tall, thin trees that seem to have grown in almost straight lines. Skyline Drive is famous for its many overlooks and wonderful locations to pull over and take in gorgeous views such as this.

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