Appalachian Trail Histories

Menu
Members of the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club measuring the Appalachian Trail with Myron Avery, second from right with wheel. July 1940.

1940.07 BentMt.Avery.jpg

From 1932-1952, the Appalachian Trail followed an entirely different route between Roanoke and Damascus, Virginia from the one it uses today. The Guide to the Paths of Blue Ridge (1941 edition) details each section of that hike from Route 11 just northwest of Roanoke, down through Floyd, Patrick, Carroll, Grayson, and Washington Counties in great detail.

This section of the Guide describes the route of the trail between Mason Cove and Glenvar, the point at which the old Appalachian Trail route deviated substantially from the current route. Several of the landmarks mentioned either no longer exist (Bradshaw Post Office) or are substantially different -- Catawba Sanatorium is now Catawba Hospital -- and the "dirt road passable by automobile" is now county road 622, a paved road.

Mason Cove.jpg

From 1932-1952, the Appalachian Trail followed an entirely different route between Roanoke and Damascus, Virginia from the one it uses today. TheĀ Guide to the Paths of Blue Ridge (1941 edition) details each section of that hike from Route 11 just northwest of Roanoke, down through Floyd, Patrick, Carroll, Grayson, and Washington Counties in great detail.

This first section of the guide describes the by now well-known route across Tinker and Catawba Mountains, the location of McAfee Knob and Tinker Cliffs, and the route that the trail took once it reached Highway 311 near Mason Cove.

Tinker Mountain 1941.jpg

The Pickle Branch Shelter is a typical example of the U.S. Forest Service's plank sided lean-to. This shelter was built in 1980 by volunteers from the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club and U.S. Forest Service staff. It is currently maintained by the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club.

Collection: Trail Shelters
Pickle Branch Shelter 2008.jpg

Members of the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club on Potts Mountain in Central Virginia during the fall of 1939. Day hikes like this one were a central activity of the AT Clubs for many decades.

Collection: Trail Clubs
Potts Mountain Hike.jpg

The Fulhardt Knob Shelter is located in the Jefferson National Forest in Virginia and was built by the U.S. Forest Service. It is one of the few Trail Shelters with no spring nearby. Instead, water is gathered in a large rain cistern behind the shelter. It is maintained by the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club.

Collection: Trail Shelters
Fulhardt Knob Shelter 05181974.jpg

Volunteers and officials of the U.S. Forest Service at the dedication of the Niday Place AT Shelter on August 26, 1962. The Niday Place Shelter is a typical example of the plank sided lean-to favored by the U.S. Forest Service. It is located in the Jefferson National Forest in Virginia, south of Roanoke, and is maintained by the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club.

Collection: Trail Shelters
NIday Place Shelter VA 1962.jpg

The Johns Spring Shelter, formerly known as the Boy Scout Shelter, was built in 2003 by the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club as a replacement for the older Boy Scout Shelter. John's Spring Shelter is a memorial to John Haranzo, an avid AT hiker and RATC member.

Collection: Trail Shelters
Johns Spring Shelter 07172016MK.jpg

The Catawba Mountain Shelter was built by volunteers from the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club in the summer and fall of 1984. This shelter was added to the chain of shelters after the relocation of the Appalachian Trail from North Mountain to Catawba Mountain, adding McAfee Knob to the Trail's route. This shelter is built in a style that is reminiscent of the typical plank sided lean-to favored by the U.S. Forest Service, but has unique features in its design, including the peaked roof and more open front. It is maintained by the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club.

Collection: Trail Shelters
Catawba Shelter 07182016MK.jpg

Members of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC), Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club (RATC), and the Natural Bridge Appalachian Trail Club (NBATC) on a group hike to McAfee Knob, October 1935.

Collection: Iconic Locations
McAfee 1935.jpg

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