Appalachian Trail Histories

Built by the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club in 1965, the Fulhardt Knob Shelter is the last on the Appalachian Trail to use a cistern system for capturing and supplying water to hikers. According to the RATC, "This shelter is also notorious because it has been the on-again-off-again home for an otherwise homeless woman named Peggy who believes herself to be the deposed queen of England. She is, at times, belligerent and she leaves a lot of trash behind; but she does not appear to be dangerous."

Collection: Trail Shelters
Fullhardt Knob.jpg

Built in 1984 using the traditional design of open lean to stone and log shelters, Calf Mountain Shelter is located in Augusta County, Virginia, at the southern end of Shenandoah National Park. The shelter was meant to hold up to six people and is maintained by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club. The Calf Mountain Shelter is built, in part, out of the remains of the Rip Rap and Sawmill Run Shelters, both of which had been dismantled due to over use.

Collection: Trail Shelters
Calf Mountain.jpg

The Cornelius Creek Shelter is located in Botetourt County, Virginia and is maintained by the Natural Bridge Appalachian Trail Club. This shelter was built in 1960, making it one of the older shelters on this stretch of the Trail.

Collection: Trail Shelters
Cornelius Creek.jpg

The Paul C. Wolfe shelter is located in Nelson County, Virginia. It was built in 1991, by volunteers from theĀ Old Dominion Appalachian Trail Club. This club continues to maintain the shelter and 19 miles of the Trail beginning at the southern boundary of Shenandoah National Park.

Collection: Trail Shelters
Paul C. Wolfe Shelter.jpg

Built in 1940 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, Bearfence Mountain Shelter is located in Greene County, Virginia inside the boundaries of Shenandoah National Park. Maintained by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, the shelter is named after the nearby summit of Bearfence Mountain which has an elevation of 3,640 ft. The origin of Bearfence name likely came from a nearby pasture which was fenced in to keep bears out.

Collection: Trail Shelters
Bearfence Mountain.jpg

This map of the Appalachian Trail was produced by the Appalachian Trail Conference in 1948. It shows the southern terminus at Mount Oglethorpe (rather than the current Springer Mountain).

ATCMap 1948.jpg

This 1938 map of the Appalachian Trail from the Susquehanna River to the Virginia/Tennessee border, appeared on the back of the stationary of the Appalachian Trail Conference beginning in the late 1930s. It describes those portions of the Trail covered by the PATC's Guide to Paths in the Blue Ridge: Measured Distances and Detailed Directions for 506 Miles of the Appalachian Trail and 65 Miles of Side Trails in Virginia and Adjacent States, originally published in 1931 and reprinted numerous times since. The route of the Trail in 1938, especially in southern Virginia, is quite different from the current route.

Collection: Maps

Structure Completion Dates

Lewis Spring Lean-to: May 1936
Rock Spring Shelter: June 1937
Doyle River Shelter: March 1937
Pocosin Shelter: June 1937
Big Run Lean-to: February 1939
Rip Rap Lean-to: February 1939
Old Rag Lean-to: September 1939
High Top Lean-to: October 1939
Pass Mountain Lean-to: October 1939
Meadow Springs Shelter: September 1939
Hawksbill Gap Lean-to: May 1940
Bearfence Lean-to:June 1940
Shaver Hollow Lean-to:July 1940
South River Lean-to:July 1940
Pinefield Lean-to: August 1940
Big Flat Lean-to: December 1940
Gravel Springs Lean-to: January 1941
Indian Run Lean-to: March 1941
Black Rock Lean-to: June 1941
Sawmill Run Lean-to: June 1941
Elkwallow Lean-to: December 1941

Collection: Trail Shelters

Image from page 6 of "The Appalachian Trail", published by the U.S. Forest Service in 1964.


The Dave Lesser Shelter is the last shelter on the Appalachian Trail before northbound hikers reach Harpers Ferry, or the first they encounter south of Harpers Ferry. Maintained by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, the shelter is a three-sided structure with a very large front deck. There is also a picnic pavilion with a fire pit and a privy. Half a dozen tent sites are scattered along the slope below the shelter and the freshwater spring is .25 miles down slope. Relatively few thru hikers stop overnight at the Lesser shelter, largely because they are so close to Harpers Ferry, the psychological mid-point of their hike (the real half way point is 80 miles north in Pennsylvania near Pine Grove Furnace). The shelter was built in 1994.

Collection: Trail Shelters

A page from the Dave Lesser Shelter logbook with entries from April 26, 2016, to May 9, 2016. The first three entries are typical of the sort of inspirational writing long distance hikers leave behind--either as messages to friends along the trail, or simply because they want to. The May 9 entry contains artwork of a sort that often ends up in the shelter logs.

Collection: Trail Shelters
Dave Lesser Shelter Log

Map of the proposed Appalachian Trail, hand-drawn by Benton MacKaye for the first meeting of the Appalachian Trail Conference, March, 1925. Although this map became the blueprint for the Trail, the final terminus for the path ended up being Springer Mountain, not the Cohutta Mountains of North Georgia as he proposed in this map.

Collection: Maps
MacKaye Map 1925.jpg