View Full Version : SNP Shelters

08-21-2003, 12:07
Looking for information about the following shelters/huts in SNP:
Blackrock Hut, Pinefield Hut, Hightop Hut, Bearfence Hut. We plan to tent -- are there tent sites, availability of water, cables for hanging bear bags, etc.?

Yona and Makwa

08-21-2003, 12:38
Water at Blackrock Hut was non-existent last October, but it was also the driest summer since the 1930's, whereas this has been one of the wettest in memory. Blackrock is an old, dark stone shelter located at the bottom of a hollow that probably gets pretty cold in the morning (we were going to stay but we had to hike the 27 miles out to Rockfish Gap in two days since there was no water). There were a few spaces to put a tent, but no obviously designated tent sites. Bear bag cables were available next to the shelter.

08-21-2003, 12:42
There were tent spots at all the huts we stayed in there as wells as water. Make sure you read the registers though. Sometimes the springs near the huts can go dry in dry years. Water is available at all the waysides, lodges, ranger stations, picnic areas along the way.

There are bear poles at every hut. Tall metal poles with branches at the top. The trick to getting your bear bag on the branches is to hold onto the draw string of your food sack with one finger. Find a small stick and place it below your finger in bewteen the two sides of the draw string. The tension on the draw string caused by gravity and the weight of your food will hold the stick in place. Now that you have the two ends of draw string pulled apart it is easy to loop it over the branches which are 15 feet up.

08-21-2003, 13:37
another approach for easily hanging things on those bear poles is to use a midsized 'biner (not the heavy type used for climbing but the light weight type for hooking gear on belts etc.) I was just up at Hightop Hut - seven official tent sites available in addition to the hut. One thing that I noticed is that the hut's number (all buildings, huts, privies have a number in SNP) was 9-11.

I know Bearfence hut has at least 6 tent sites and Rockspring hut has at least 3 (located above the privy). I think Pinefield has at least 3 sites also (possibly more).

As for water I don't think there is any problem with any of the springs this year. In drier years Pinefield gets real slow but you can always hike down hill about .3 to Ivy Creek (rough bushwhack) Blackrock does go dry as mentioned above but again this year I do not think it is a problem. As of last weekend both the spring near Hightop hut and the spring toward the summit of Hightop were producing well - estimated about 1 gallon per minute or better.

08-24-2003, 09:34
I check out some of the huts in the South District yesterday -

Pinefield Hut - 5 official tent sites but based on notes in register a couple of them are less than level; spring is flowing very well at the moment - its sort of a small stream at this time

Blackrock Hut - 8 official tent sites, three above the hut, two on the right headed toward privy and three down a short trail leaving trail to privy on the right just before reaching the privy - one of the last three looked to be good for a hammock also; per a register entry by Beesknees and Relentless the large rat that would steal socks and bandanas was killed in early August but I don't know who killed it; the copperhead at the hut I think is still around but again I am not sure; the rat was estimated to be a foot long; spring is doing very well - estimated 2-3 gallons per minute.

Calf Mountain Shelter - not actually in SNP so its called a shelter instead of a hut - shelter is about 7 miles north of Rockfish Gap or about a mile south of Jarman Gap; at least 6 tentsites - unlabled but fairly obvious near the shelter; per notes in register there is a 6 inch rat in residence plus I observed at least one gray squirrel frequenting the shelter; also noted it appears that some smart mouse or other critter is able to climb the bear pole and get into peoples food; spring is doing well - estimated .5 gallon per minute.

Each of these shelters would probably hold 8 to 10 people comfortably, 5 below and 3 above at a minimum.

08-25-2003, 07:39
Further followup:

24 August 2003 - stopped by Bearfence Hut for dinner:

As I remembered Bearfence Hut has 6 tentsites of which two look to be good for hammocks; spring was flowing but not overly fast - maybe .5 gallon per minute; hut can probably sleep 8 to 10 people comfortably - again at a minimum 5 below and 3 above; from reading the register it appears that there are some smart raccoons in the area that know how to climb the bear pole and get to your food; hut also appears to be home to at least one small bat that helps keep the mozzies down and a black snake that is keeping the mouse population down.