View Full Version : Mountaineer Falls Shelter

Tennessee Viking
07-03-2007, 14:44
Located in between Walnut Moutain Road and the Elk River section.

Constructed in 2006 by the Tennessee Eastman Hiking & Canoeing club, official maintainers of the AT (Spivey Gap to Damascus). Mountaineer Falls Shelter is not the typical forest service shelter. Mostly wood structure with metal roof

Located a quarter mile or so from Mountaineer Branch on a blue blaze trail on the hill top.

Water is a couple hundred yards further on the blue blaze from the shelter along the top of Mountaineer Branch.

Facilities include a wash pit, multiple fire pits, bar table, sleeping loft...sleeps 14
Some hikers utilize the waterfall as a shower

Campsite located short distance southbound of Mountaineer Branch on a blue blaze trail on top of the hill. Addition camping spots can be found passed the campsite on an abandon forest road. No connector between the campsite and the shelter.

07-03-2007, 15:39
Constructed in 2006 by the Tennessee Eastman Hiking & Canoeing club, official maintainers of the AT (Spivey Gap to Damascus).

TEHC was certainly involved in a major way but almost all of the actual labor was done bt Bob Peoples' 'Hardcore' hiker work crew.

07-03-2007, 16:17
Here's a "works-in-progress" shot of Mountaineer Falls Shelter from my Hard Core 2006 collection:



07-03-2007, 23:08
Here's a couple more:



11-25-2011, 17:58
I'm surprised this shelter doesn't garner more fanfare and hasn't had a comment in more than 4 years, so here's an update from my solo stay last Thursday night, 11/17/11.

This is truly a shelter that could serve as a standard bearer. Appreciating the popularity of Overmountain barn about 19 miles south and the admittedly very fine hostels on this stretch of trail, this is a prime place to spend an evening alone or in a group in nearly any weather.

The three-story commercially-sourced lumber cabin, rather than found material or more open cinder block design with a metal roof allows for a 'master suite' to be tucked entirely out of sight, wind, snow, and rain, which served its purpose very well after a day of exactly that (in addition to masses of eager hunters with almost regular intervals between their ever-closer shotgun blasts, rifle shots, and baying hounds). I usually am not a fan of shelters, prefer to stealth camp, and will generally resort to them only in times of severe weather or equipment malfunction, but this is an exceptionally well-built, maintained and inviting structure. It is so much so that it is the one of the few shelters that I have come across that the generally entertaining and insightful graffiti of trail philosophers and seekers actually seems somewhat defacing.

I definitely had an excellent night's rest as seems the norm per trail register entries, one of my finest on trail, even with temps that from my thermometer reached ~11F quite suddenly around 3AM. Under high pressure and a clear sky, the only real chore was devising a strategy to keep my water thawed, which brings to mind the quality of the water source. The source again feels like something you don't want to deface or trample, being that is is evidently the shelter's namesake, Mountaineer Falls. The dipping pool was an easy stroll within earshot of the shelter at the head of the falls and perhaps optionally in the pools below per the shelter's posted directions. The water was clear and fast running without suds or obvious signs of contamination or overuse with no trash present and had a solid flow for November. Admittedly more than an inch of rain had fallen leading up to this visit a day prior but there is likely abundant water here as well as points nearby in all seasons.

As the comments at the shelter and in the register suggest, the main downside to this and others in Tennessee remains the lack of a privy or designated area for such activities. While not having the number of perennial 'white blossoms' on the hills around it that are found elsewhere, the narrow hollow the shelter is in makes for an attractive and picturesque setting out of the elements, but also what I imagine is an unacceptably long trek for an appropriate site for the vast majority of hikers to conduct their personal business. During busy seasons I would say that the lower route to water is worthy of a watchful eye where you step and the water itself below the falls and trail would surely be suspect.

Overall I congratulate and thank the Hard Core Vols and TEHCC on a job well done and a very well-designed retreat from the elements for all of us to enjoy..