View Full Version : Favorite shelter spots

10-03-2003, 19:27
What's your favorite AT shelter for views or setting? I don't mean sweeping vistas necessarily, since some folks like a shelter tucked into a holler or surrounded by woods. I mean which shelter spot do you like best for its surroundings, regardless of the shape of the shelter or practical concerns like water.

10-04-2003, 07:38
Certainly one favorite among thru-hikers is Overmountain Shelter in NC

Sleepy the Arab
10-04-2003, 14:18
Let's see if I can limit this to ten. In no particular order:

1. Rainbow Stream Lean-to, ME
2. Cooper Falls Lean-to, ME
3. Woodshole Shelter, GA
4. Roan High Knob, NC/TN
5. Chestnut Knob Shelter, VA
6. Smarts Mountain Firewardens Cabin, NH
7. Thomas Knob Shelter, VA
8. Quarry Gap Shelter, PA
9. Goddard Shelter, VT
10. Bald Mountain Brook Lean-to, ME

So what can I say about this list? Well, the shelters included are generally those which had a "peaceful" feeling. I dislike Hiltons like Bryant Ridge, Jim & Molly Denton and (ugh!) Partnership because they attract a lot of people. For the same reason, I also dislike shelters in the Shenandoahs. I also have a fondness for shelters in high places.

10-04-2003, 19:18
gotta go with goddard or the fontana hilton. great spots and great memories of trail friends.

10-05-2003, 08:08
Originally posted by jigsaw
gotta go with goddard or the fontana hilton. great spots and great memories of trail friends.

My recollection of Goddard is that it is always buggy up there. Great view however.

The Hilton gets high marks for being well maintained by the folks at Fontana Dam. There were a lot of hornets or bees around when I was there. Plus, it's a walk in site where you can bring back booze that's bound to keep someone up drinking all night. Great view however looking across the lake into the Smokies.

I judge by your post that some of your favorite memories are of other hikers. That can happen anywhere along the trail.

10-05-2003, 21:12
yes some of my best memories are of times spent with other hikers. my night at fontana was nice because i was hiking with a group for the first time. most of my hikes have been solo and and being in a group was fun. this was also my first trip south and the energy of everyone that close to springer was amazing.

10-05-2003, 22:00
Tri-corner knob ..the climax of the smokies...:banana

10-06-2003, 00:32
I too liked OverMountain. I'll bet even Lonely Larry Wolf ( the shelter hater) would agree. Maybe it's the red paint or the sense that the cows just might come home after all.

Blue Jay
10-06-2003, 07:38
I like Sleepy's list and I would agree that Overmountain is the best. My second favorite is Big Branch in Vermont. The beautiful stream right in front of it and several amazing camping spots just upsteam. Another place Larry must love.

10-06-2003, 09:09
Overmountain is certainly my favorite, but I really like Pecks Corner in the Smokys as well. If Icewater (in GSMNP) wasn't so over run, it would be a spectacular place to stay. Trey Mountain in GA is hard to beat.

10-06-2003, 12:02
This will be a little dated, since my section hikes extend from the early 70's to the present, but here are some of the more memorable shelters that I've stayed at hiking from central Virginia through Vermont, listed south-to-north: Rod Hollow Shelter (Northern VA, October 2001): Newly painted and clean with a loft, skylight and covered picnic table pavilion. I spent a cold, rainy October night by my lonesome, waking up to glorious sunshine that reflected off the wet autumn leaves.
David Lesser Memorial Shelter (Northern VA, October 2001): Spent a lovely late afternoon on the swing by the covered picnic table catching up on my journal and reading. The caretaker for this airy shelter with skylight and porch left several Granny Smith apples that hit the spot. Scrounged enough wood for a lovely fire that I shared with another section hiker far into the night.
Pine Grove Furnace Cabin (Southern PA, June 1979): Reached this old cabin in mid-afternoon with my future wife. We washed up using the ample cold water from the stream in front, hung up all our clothes to dry and cooked a big one-pot meal which we ate on the porch. We had the entire cabin to ourselves (with a few resident mice) and had a very memorable afternoon. Looks like this cabin no longer exists.
Kirkridge Lean-to (Northern PA, March 1976): My mom's first night out backpacking, overlooking the lights of the valley below on a crystal cold evening and morning.
Mountain Brook Lean-to (Connecticut, March 1978): Nice little lean-to near Macedonia State Park I believe, with a babbling brook running out back. Looks like this lean-to no longer exists.
Mt. Everett Lean-to (Connecticut, March 1975): We reached this now-defunct shelter in the early stages of hypothermia brought on by the cold swirling rain, sleet and snow showers. On our ascent from the north we passed right by the shelter as the fog was so thick, forcing us to slide back down the ice on the trail from the summit. We eventually warmed up and woke up to brilliant sunshine reflecting off a layer of clouds a 100 feet below us, which eventually started to burn off to reveal the valley below.
Mt. Wilcox Lean-to (Massachusetts, March 1975): Lovely view out the front of the lean-to to the snow-covered hills beyond. Very quiet and restful. I think this is now the Mt. Wilcox South Lean-to.
Congon Camp (Southern VT, August 1976 & August 1979): This was when Congdon was a small, fully enclosed cabin with very cozy accommodations. I was fortunate that it was very sunny both times I stayed; it would probably get pretty claustrophobic on a dreary day. One afternoon I watched a woodpecker eat insects out of a dead tree out front for hours, lying by the beautiful, rocky river out front.
Little Rock Pond Shelter (Southern VT, August 1979): Looks out over the very swimmable pond.

10-06-2003, 14:07
You gotta be kidding me? Tricorner? Isnt' that the pit, no views, and a plastic porta-pottie that's leaning back at a 30 degree angle?

Maybe you were joking :)

I really liked Icewater. It is busy, but it is a beautiful sunrise.

Wasn't impressed with Peck's corner.

The best spots tend to be camping spots though - Standing Indian, Big Butt, Beauty Spot, Cheoh Bald, and other balds down south are amazing!

Gravity Man

10-06-2003, 14:30
yep ..tricorner ..I like tricorner...really do.....have you ever been there when the full moon comes up over the ridge??? or when the wild sunflowers are in bloom up the bank above the spring??/
real good berry pickin in the area......yep tricorner....

10-06-2003, 14:37
We all have our preferences, I suppose. I think Tricorner is a real hole. One of the few places in the Smokys without bear cables. At least the water is right there.

I think Pecks is great. The distance off the trail (about 1/2 mile) and its proximity to Ice Water discourage tourists and annoying weekenders. No bear cage, big front porch, and lots of camping prospects. Usually very clean. Pleasant setting,but not as nice as Icewater. Okay, the water is a walk, but you can bring some down from the AT at a little spring just before the shelter trail.

10-06-2003, 14:55
lots of folks do think that about tri-corner...they musta never strolled in there late in the evening after watching the moon come up from behind the balsams.....I will be glad when the remodeling gets done and bear cables up....you ever been up to tricorner when that banks all in yeller bloom?

but as in the orginal post of this thread ...it's not all about the actual shelter but the location,surroundings, i like it there..remote inthe Ne corner of the smokies.....right where the balsam mtns come into the range...and laurel gap shelter not far away..now there is a nice palce to camp....watch the bats come out at night there!

Lone Wolf
10-06-2003, 14:58
Do you know where the actual spring is there at Tri-corner? It ain't out front there in front of the shelter.

10-06-2003, 15:16
The pipe from the spring comes out right in front of the shelter. I would suppose the spring is somewhere up above the level of the pipe.

I suppose I have bad memories of my stay at Tricorner this last April, when it was packed with greenhorns and early rising old men, one of which packed up my sleeping bag stuff sack when he got going at 5 am in the rain, just to make the massive hike to Davenport Gap. The area is really rather nice, with some sweet camping spots back on the AT, just north of the shelter.

10-06-2003, 16:17
Bigelow Col Shelter ME

A 5 min walk to 360 deg views of the crockers, saddlebacks, flagstaff lake, and on a very good day, katahdin

Future Thru Hiker 2013

10-06-2003, 16:35
haven't stayed here yet, but on a day hike went by Thomas Knob Shelter near Mt Rogers in VA. Ate lunch, and a trail runner came thru pointing out burn marks he made on the table years before. And really couldn't wait to use the privy. Was a nice looking shelter.

10-06-2003, 17:12
Originally posted by L. Wolf
Do you know where the actual spring is there at Tri-corner? It ain't out front there in front of the shelter.

well it looks like it a comin right outa of the side of the hill ...up there about 3 weeks ago and the pipe is not there...It can't be coming from too far up the hill ...cause the shelter near the top of the ridge coming in from balsams....one reason I like it there cause it's near the top of a ridge....

but if I have to guess what youre a gonna say ,,,,from near the outhouse??:D

Lone Wolf
10-06-2003, 17:15
It's about 25 yards up from where the pipe is now. A small cement box with a pipe coming out of it. Takes a little time to find it.

10-06-2003, 17:35
Originally posted by L. Wolf
It's about 25 yards up from where the pipe is now. A small cement box with a pipe coming out of it. Takes a little time to find it.

no pipe there now unless someone had replaced it in the last couple weeks....but its not far up thru there to the balsam mtn trail which is right in the ridge line.

Lone Wolf
10-06-2003, 18:16
Nope. Still there. Really hard to find.

10-06-2003, 18:21
Lone wolf ...I've never seen this box..if you say it's there ..I accept that,,,but the pipe in front of the shelter ain't there right now unless someone has replaced it in the last couple weeks

TJ aka Teej
10-06-2003, 20:38
Pierce Pond Lean-to in Maine ain't bad.

10-07-2003, 16:21
Yes, my first posting here, hope to have alot more. Plenty of trail stories to tell....

Cooper Lodge on top of Killington, it's top dog in my book. Everything that you could ask from a shelter on a big mountain and a nice downhill (yeh, check the elivation profile if you don't believe me) jaunt to the Inn at Longtrail with those tasty pints of Guiness and Irish Stew.

Also, Standing Indian one on my favorites because I pull off some trailmajic there when I can get a weekend away in spring.

Anybody know if Skylark or The Riders on the Storm from 96' are on this site?

Its great to be among people that I have so much in common with!