View Full Version : Any shelters not to be missed?

01-15-2015, 00:35
Hey y'all. Finally got my 2015 AWOL a couple days ago and have been obsessively marking it up like the over-eager hiker nerd that I am with suggestions from friends who have thru hiked about the best places to stop and everything. My friends were more into hammocking and stealth camping whereas I'm more of a shelter gal myself, though, so I don't have too much info on the coolest shelters to stay at. I hiked the LT this fall and was always bummed to come across a really sweet shelter at 10am when it was a nice day and I knew I still had several miles left in me, so I like to at least keep in mind the places where it might be extra fun to stop. I know most places are pretty basic and similar, but I'd love to hear about any shelters that you remember being particularly cool from your thru, section hike, or just heard about from a rambling homeless looking crazy person you met one time (hiker trash forever). Love anything with good views, swimming spots, super spacious, whatever. I already know not to miss Thomas Knob... Who doesn't love ponies?

Places that stood out for being particularly awful might also be fun to note, too. Thanks in advance!

01-15-2015, 11:25
Some of my favorites last fall were:
Upper Goose in Mass (best place to zero - pack in good eats/drinks to enjoy)
Cooper Brook (ME) - awesome swimming spot. Also Pierce Pond (ME) is a must (be careful swimming, you'll hear the story here). Get the $10 pancakes at Tim Harrison's nearby.
Little Rock Pond (Vt)

For views: Chestnut Knob (Va), Vandeventer (TN), Eagles Nest 3 (Shenandoah) stick out.
The pizza delivery ones- 501 in PA, RPH in NY, Partnership in VA. Also, not a shelter but the Graymor Monastery in NY is free, has electricity, pizza delivery (to gate) and you can walk .4 to sports bar or .2 down to deli for food/beer.
Cool architecture etc ones I noted were
Bryant Ridge (va), Ed Garvey (Md), Hexacube (NH)

Also consider staying at shelters that allow you easy access to great sunrise views- catching a sunrise at McAfee by staying at Campbell Shelter for example.

You'll find plenty of dumpy shelters in NJ, NY, TN. Mainly the ones built 50+ years ago. And the notorious /haunted ones like Wapiti (VA) and Punchbowl(VA)

Good luck on your hike! -TK

01-15-2015, 12:50
In GA, Blood Mountain Shelter is pretty cool, but I wouldn't stay in there. I'd plan to stay at hostel at mountain crossing. Avoid Whitley Gap Shelter, way, way to far away from trail. Plumorchard Gap Shelter was pretty nice.

Long Branch Shelter is really really nice. Sassafras Gap Shelter too. Fontana Hilton is a must. I've only made it to Fontana, so I can't help you north.

01-15-2015, 12:58
Quarry Gap Shelter in Pennsylvania is very nice. The caretaker takes a lot of pride in his work. In the image below, you can see flower baskets hanging from the eaves. Several other nice touches around the shelter to make you feel at home.

01-15-2015, 13:22
Denton shelter near Linden Va, Garvey shelter in MD, and Quarry Gap are all very nice looking shelters although I didn't stay in any of them. I camped near the Garvey shelter.

01-15-2015, 13:27
Top choices from the shelters I have seen in person:

Overmountain Shelter (NC)
Bryant Ridge (VA)
Jim and Molly Denton (VA)
Raven Rock (MD)
Quarry Gap (PA)

01-15-2015, 13:50
West Mountain Shelter in NY. No water, long way off trail, but great view including NYC Skyline on a clear night.

01-15-2015, 13:53
Stratton Pond shelter in VT is quite the mansion.

01-15-2015, 14:39
West Mountain Shelter in NY. No water, long way off trail, but great view including NYC Skyline on a clear night.

Exactly what I came here to say... well, except for the water part. I seem to remember there being a water pump down the (extremely steep) hill in front of the shelter. It wasn't always working though, but last time I was there a couple years ago it was. Hell of a climb back up to the shelter from the pump though, carry heavy water.

Anyway, one of my all-time favorite shelters on the AT. That view is just amazing. Totally worth the .5 mile side trail to get to the shelter.

01-15-2015, 15:54
1 Fontana Dam shelter ( the Hilton ).
2 Roan High Knob.
3 Over Mountain shelter ( the Barn ).
4 Vandeventer shelter ( one of the best views on the trail ).
5 Partnership shelter.
6 Bryant Ridge shelter.
7 David Lesser Memorial shelter.
8 Birch run shelter.
9 Quarry Gap shelters ( looks like something you would see in Switzerland.
10 501 shelter.
11 RPH shelter.
12 Cooper Brook Falls Lean-To

01-15-2015, 16:10
I always thought the Sunrise Shelter (pavillion) in NJ always afforded a pretty nice view of Northern NJ.

01-15-2015, 16:29
i enjoyed whitley gap shelter, GA. . .long way off but so pretty & great water source too.

i loved cooper's brook shelter in maine but i got stung by a yellow jacket that had a nest a the base of tiny pine tree near the stream. loved swimming in the stream!

wadleigh stream shelter in maine, has a huge incredible spring for the water source.

01-15-2015, 20:45
The Priest, not for the shelter, but to read the confessions in the log book. The "Alter" is pretty cool too and the short side trip to climb Spy Rock for the 360 degrees is well worth it.

Sarcasm the elf
01-15-2015, 20:56
There is one shelter in CT that gives you an amazing view of the sunrise over the valley below, I believe it is Riga shelter, but someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

01-15-2015, 21:20
There is one shelter in CT that gives you an amazing view of the sunrise over the valley below, I believe it is Riga shelter, but someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

I think you're correct about that. And agree that the views from there are great.

SmokyMtn Hiker
01-15-2015, 21:44
I have not been north of Damascus but my picks would be as follows from north to south.

1. Blood Mtn. I probably would not stay here when Neels Gap is just at the foot of the mountain but regardless the views from the mountain are great.
2. Tray Mountain. The short side trail to the shelter has an awesome view.
3. GSMNP, if you have seen one in the park you have seen them all but Icewater has the best view but depending on the time of the year espect it to be a full house.
4. Overmountain is not be missed. Regardless of the amount of people it's plenty big enough and the view into the Roaring Creek valley is nice.
5. Vandeventer which has been mentioned more than once on this thread. The view down into Lake Watauga area is breathtaken but the trek to the water source is well....a bit challenging.
6. Hogback Ridge. It has been a little over 5 years since my stay there but if I remember correctly the view from the privy was nice, yeah I know that sounds weird but that's one of my memories of my stay there.

01-16-2015, 07:36
Not a shelter but the Antlers Campsite in Maine is not to be missed. It is the site of an old sporting camp in a grove of old softwoods with a dandy beach on an undeveloped lake. One of the best spots to camp in the 100 mile wilderness.

Have to mention Pierce Pond Shelter in Maine, It is quite close to the pond which is undeveloped, its loaded with loons and moose. There is sporting camp on the outlet stream of the pond. You order breakfast the night before and then stop by in the AM and pig out.

In the whites there are a couple of AMC huts in spectacular locations, Greenleaf and Lake of the Clouds. Unless you get a work for stay, they are quire expensive and packed full most night by guests with reservations, they are in very spectacular spots. Lakes of the Clouds has incredible sunsets while Greenleaf has great sunrises. As spectacular but slightly off the trail is Crag Camp which looks over Kings Ravine on Mt Adams. It is first come first served but far less expensive than an AMC hut (but no meals).

01-16-2015, 07:55
There is one shelter in CT that gives you an amazing view of the sunrise over the valley below, I believe it is Riga shelter, but someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

This is the one, yeah. It can be crowded at times, but if the weather is clear, it does provide a heck of a view.

01-16-2015, 23:49
PA has a few good ones, I forgot the name of it. But the first one in PA has a church behind it. Hit it up on Sunday and make yourself known, free pasta dinner!

Feral Bill
01-17-2015, 00:26
West Mountain Shelter in NY. No water, long way off trail, but great view including NYC Skyline on a clear night.

+1, and it dates back to the 1920s.

01-17-2015, 23:45
If you're into shelters made from "raw" logs, then you can't miss the Eagle's Nest Shelter in Pa. (between Rt. 183 and Port Clinton at Rt. 61). The logs are 12"-14" diameter hemlock and spruce, and were cut (Scandinavian-Scribe method) and assembled off-site, then FLOWN BY HELICOPTER to the site in the woods! The newly reconstructed Rausch Gap Shelter (completed in 2012), located in State Game Lands #211 on the east side of the Susquehanna River (a 2 day hike, more or less), this one was also constructed off-site, then disassembled and driven to the site, and re-assembled in a day. No view at this one, but in deep woods (the Game Lands tract is about 28,000 acres) - you WILL hear the pilots at Fort Indiantown Gap Military Reservation (on the other side of the mountain) making training flights, though. (In the interest of disclosure, I was in charge of both of these projects...but they are good looking shelters nonetheless!)

Rain Man
01-18-2015, 11:11
(In the interest of disclosure, I was in charge of both of these projects...but they are good looking shelters nonetheless!)

Let me be the first to say "Thank you, thank you, thank you!" for being a trail volunteer!!! God bless you!

I saw both those shelters during my two section hikes in PA in the past couple of years. Good job!

Also, love your signature tag line! Have always appreciated that sentiment.



01-18-2015, 17:52
Long Branch in NC and Partnership in Va......two of my favs.

01-18-2015, 19:01
Just doin' what I can to "pay it forward". Besides, it was FUN!!!

01-18-2015, 23:19
I can only speak for VT thus far but agree that Little Rock Pond is a nice one, ample tent spots close to the water too if the shelter isn't your thing. Yeah you have to pay in season but both caretakers I've met have been very cool people to spend time with. Spruce Peak just outside the 11/30 crossing in Manchester is another nice one. The inclusion of four walls, a door, and a wood stove make it quite an exceptional shelter in my experience.

01-18-2015, 23:53
Don't stay at Punchbowl!!! I stayed there a few years ago by myself & while tenting near the shelter in the middle of the night, I was awaken by someone/something shaking my tent violently!! I yelled, grabbed my headlamp & raced outside to watch a white silhouette walking/floating upright across the top of the lake all the way to the other side.

10-24-2016, 09:35
Good Shelters for location/views (maybe dated as was experienced in 1993):
- Tray Mountain Shelter (GA) - great summit views, exposed to foul weather though
- Overmountain Shelter (TN-NC) - great view down the mountain valley
- Smarts Mountain Shelter (actually cabin) (NH) - great views off of the summit
- Blood Mountain Shelter (actually cabin) (GA)
- Rufus Morgan Shelter (NC) - it's located in a cool little dell
- Apple House ex-Shelter (TN) - it's next to a really nice creek in a little hollow
- Rainbow Stream Lean-to (ME)
- Plum-orchard Gap Shelter (GA) - really cool mountain hollow
- Sages Ravine Tentsite (MA) - Nifty area with overlooks
- Saunders Shelter (VA) - nice pine clearing and glade around shelter; it's a steep hike down from the AT on the ridgeline
- Greenleaf Hut (NH)
- Watuga Lake Shelter (TN)
- Avery Memorial ex-Lean-to/Shelter, now campsite (ME) - cool high mountain col between Bigelow peaks
- Chestnut Knob (VA)
- Cove Mountain (PA)
- Walnut Mtn Shelter (TN-NC)
- Fingerboard Shelter (NY)
- West Mountain Shelter (NY)
- RPH Cabin (NY) - green grass lawn to enjoy, bikes to day ride around on
- Goddard Shelter (VT)
- Jeffer's Brook (NH)
- Beaver Brook (NH)
- Garfield Ridge (NH)
- Zealand Falls Hut (NH)
- Galehead Hut (NH)
- Guyot Shelter (NH)
- Speck Pond Lean To (ME)
- Pleasant Pond Lean to (ME)
- Moxie Bald LeanTo (ME)
- Chairback Gap LeanTo (ME)
- Whitecap Mtn Tentsite (ME)
- Potaywadjo Spring Lean-to (ME) - Huge spring

Unusual designs:
- Little Bigelow Lean-To (ME), had a very usual cottage-in-the-woods privy
- Hexacuba Shelter (NH)
- Bryant Ridge (VA)