Appalachian Trail Histories

The Antietam Shelter, located in the Mont Alto (now MIchaux) State Forest (PA), was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in 1936. It is located on the banks of Little Antietam Creek. Maintained by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, this shelter is slated to be moved to a new location, possibly on the Tuscarora Trail, in the near future, due to its proximity to the popular Old Forge Picnic Grounds.

Collection: Trail Shelters
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The privy at the Manassas Gap Shelter is built according to the original recommendations of the Appalachian Trail Conference in 1940. The shelter and its privy are maintained by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club.

Collection: Trail Shelters
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In 1953, George F. Miller became the sixth person to hike the entire Appalachian Trail in one year, and at age 72, was by far the oldest.

A retired college professor living in Washington, D.C., was a seasoned long distance walker--as a young man he walked more than 1,000 miles from Farmington, Missouri to Washington in just 26 days.

Miller was also an innovator when it came to his gear. As the photograph here shows, his pack (which he made himself) consisted of four separate units spread from his chest to his back.

Collection: Hikers
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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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Members of a Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC) day hiking group at the summit of Mount Katahdin in 1939. Of the 37 individuals in the image, 22 signed the photograph on the back. Almost half of the group is female, showing the high degree of participation in these expeditions by female members of the Club. It is also worth noting that the now iconic sign on the Katahdin summit was not there in 1939.


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

Photograph of a large group of members of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club during a hike on the Appalachian Trail in the early 1930s. Club co-founder Myron Avery is pictured to the left with his famous measuring wheel and Frank Schairer, another co-founder and the club's first supervisor of trails is to Avery's left with clippers draped over his head.


Myron Avery points out a trail location in the late 1930s. Pictured with Avery (pointing with an axe) are, from left, PATC members Howard Olmstead, Bob Beach, Dr. Laurence Schmeckebeier, and Mary Jo Williams.

Collection: Builders

The Raven Rock Shelter was built by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC) in 2010 as a replacement for the Devil's Racecourse Shelter, one of the shelters constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. Because the Devil's Racecourse Shelter was in need of substantial renovation, and because it had become a preferred location for non-hikers to stage parties (it was close to a road), the PATC decided to build the new shelter much further uphill, away from the road, and close to the Trail.

Collection: Trail Shelters

This shelter, located in Washington County, Maryland, is dedicated to the memory of Ensign Phillip Cowall. Its construction was financed with funds donated to the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC) by his parents, David and Cindy Cowall of Salisbury, Maryland, in 1998, in memory of their son, who had loved the Appalachian Trail. The shelter is located 1054.8 miles north of Springer Mountain (GA) and 1135 miles south of Mount Katahdin (ME).

Collection: Trail Shelters

The Pine Knob Shelter sits just north of the footbridge over I-70 near the mid-point of the Appalachian Trail in Maryland. Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1939, this shelter is an excellent example of the traditional lean to design favored at that time. It is 1046.6 miles north of Springer Mountain (GA) and 1143.2 miles south of Mount Katahdin (ME).

Collection: Trail Shelters