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View Full Version : Leroy A. Smith Shelter - PA



Former Admin
10-19-2002, 11:36
Info, questions, comments, experiences (good or bad) regarding - Leroy A. Smith Shelter

Past/Present hikers - what can future hikers expect here? Have any good stories or memories from here?

Future hikers - any questions?

ez-does-it
10-21-2002, 17:30
Last shelter heading north bound before Pa.33 and Wind Gap Pa. a very nice area for tenting out just before you get to the shelter.There are app. 3 springs for this shelter as listed and the first two are usually dry by the time the north bound thru-hikers get there so you will have to walk down a service road for 0.5 miles to a piped spring which has never stopped flowing but it is a long walk down and an even longer walk back up the road after a loooooong day walking on the Pa. rocks.:o

Crash
01-03-2005, 10:38
Checked on it yesterday.
It has a nice hammocking/tent spot on the left side of the blue trail just past the high tension line clearing. Its one of the small built leantos with a tinned roof. No bunks, No picnic table, nor does it have a tarp over the entrance for winter. The privy was pretty good.

neo
01-03-2005, 11:06
i stayed at this shelter in early nov 2003.was a real nice shelter with a top of the line privy:sun neo

Toolshed
01-03-2005, 14:23
I had stopped in a few nights here and there in the month of June between 2001 and 2003 when I used to live in the area. Wife and I carried our young son in a kid carrier (then 2) and we would hike up the mountain before dinner on the old access road past the springs and wait until dusk before heading back don. Always packed a small cooler of sodas and Snickers & Hersheys, but we only met thruhikers once.
Always meant to stay there for a night, but I always ended up at the overlook just past the Kirkridge Shelter.

Crash
02-06-2005, 09:51
I camped there last night 28degrees. The trail sobo from Wind Gap was in bad shape, lots of blow downs, missing blazes.
A blown down tree had been dragged into the site. Too large for me to break apart or drag out from under the ice and snow.
I hammocked inside the shelter. It's wide enough to do it. There's a tie down on the left side and I put an eye hook on the other, I did remove it.
In the winter it has a nice nightime view of the lights of Lehigh Valley. Park a car in the Gamelands lot- its 3\4 m straight downhill from the shelter, then get shuttled to your start point. A house across the street helps with minimal vandalism.

Crash
07-25-2005, 23:07
the first 2 springs down from the shelter are dry but the 3rd spring is flowing well. its good cold water,
left some sodas there in the spring - dont yell at me for 'litterin'.

stillbill
07-31-2005, 14:26
Hey Crash, If I go by there and don't get one of those sodas i'll yell at you. Just kidding. Stillbill

blasala
04-12-2008, 22:21
I am about to camp there. Looking forward to it.

Crash
04-13-2008, 00:11
I was up last week cleaning it up.
Have fun up there.

Strategic
05-30-2008, 11:22
I was up at Leroy Smith yesterday, up the Katellen trail from the SGL lot. The shelter is a beautiful old dressed timber structure, built with some very nice timber-frame/cabin joinery work. It's slightly small but very clean and very nicely maintained. I met one of the maintainers and original builders who was telling us that it's small because when they were building it some of the timbers were stolen from the drop site down by the road and they had to reduce it's size to compensate. There's also a composting privy just above and springs on the Katellen trail below. Just up toward the AT is an established tenting/hammocking area that's very large and very nice. Not many thru-hikers in the register yet, but it is still May and even most of the early starters aren't quite to northern PA.

For a quick water report while I'm at it:

Spring #1 across from the shelter is already running badly. It's actually dry in it's usual spot and comes out now as a relatively small flow somewhere in the rocks below. You can't really get to the water until the stream crosses the trail about .1 below the shelter.

Spring #2 at .2 down from the shelter is running very nicely, with a good solid flow and deep pools. Getting down to this one on the Katellen trail is quite easy, as it's not too rocky and only moderately downhill.

Spring #3 at .3 down is also running well, though it gets lost almost immediately in the flow of the stream from above right now, which is quite strong because of Spring #2.

Here are a few pics from the shelter and its surroundings. The guy standing in front of the shelter is the AMC Ridgerunner for this section, Rick. Very nice guy.

rafe
05-30-2008, 11:31
I wasn't too impressed with this shelter. It felt closed-in. There's no view at all, except for the sprawling fire pit. Water (as is usual for PA shelters) is a long walk. The shelter itself is small, obviously an old design. I was surprised to note that it was under AMC management. (Did I get that part right?) Strangely, it had a brand new, hard-bound shelter register.

Strategic
05-30-2008, 12:06
It is small...really small. I'm mostly in love with the timber-framing of the shelter itself and the privy, which is a fairly nice one. I also like the open camping grove that's just up toward the AT from the shelter. It's a great hang site :D but of course that means I don't usually use the shelter itself except for secondary uses most of the time.

There are a number of shelters I think are really neat that I wouldn't prefer to sleep in over some of the good modern shelters (like Allentown or William Penn, for instance.) The really old stone shelters, for instance, like in GSMNP or Harriman SP in NY are wonderful from an architectural and historical standpoint, but they're often damp and/or drafty to sleep in.

The AMC does maintain this one, as well as the trail section from Little Gap to Wind Gap. The Ridgerunner is Rick McKenric, a very nice guy and seems pretty on the ball (he was toting about 10 extra pounds of garbage from the trail when I met him.) When I got up onto the AT itself it was pretty well kept up.

The water situation was one of the things I talked with both Rick and the maintainer about. They both said that spring #1 goes dry early now and should be viewed as unreliable. Spring #2 isn't really a bad downhill and it used to run all year according to them. It was certainly strong when I looked yesterday. Problem is that a lot of thru-hikers come through in mid-to-late July when this one has been failing in recent years. Spring #3 never fails, according to them, but that one is a steep downhill and .3 miles to boot. Unfortunately, geology is not our friend in Pennsylvania. :D

jhick
05-30-2008, 13:55
I tented nearby last weekend. There was a group of 3 or 4 that tented nearby as well. The shelter was well kept, but there are not many views in this section.

Strategic
05-30-2008, 15:00
True, though if you go just north of Leroy Smith on the AT you get to the end of the powerline cut on the north side of the ridge (the same cut that's just above the shelter.) That is a pretty good north-facing vista, not something you find much along any of the PA sections from the Susquehanna northward, since most of the views are south (due to the geology, mostly.) One other good one near there is Weathering Knob at the top of the NOBO climb out of Little Gap.

Strategic
07-12-2009, 19:22
I've just returned from a weekend section from Smith Gap to DWG (well, Dunnfield creek really.) I stayed the night on 7/10 at Leroy Smith shelter. The shelter was pretty full, with 2-Pound, Bugman, Turtle and Fearless Phil in that small space, myself and three others hanging/tenting just below the shelter in the overflow tent sites, and Tarzan plus six other hikers hanging/tenting in the grove above the shelter. There were also four local kids camped up on the powerline cut, along with their cooler and it's inevitable contents. Quite the full house all around.

The shelter is still in great shape, and while spring #1 is dry, Spring #2 is still flowing as well as it was when I saw it last (and that was much earlier in the year.) I didn't go down to spring #3, but given how well #2 is doing, I can't imagine it's not flowing well too.

ShelterLeopard
07-12-2009, 21:20
I really liked it- it was a bit small, but there were only four of us, so it was fine. It was nice that they had a grill that could go on top of the pit, though I didn't use it. The spring felt really far away after 15 miles (and it was- half mile down hil, half mile back up), but it was really nice to soak your feet in, and ice cold.

slugger
06-07-2010, 00:01
Spent the night there on 6/5/10. Fit 6 Snuggly, but lots of camping space.

It's in great condition and well looked after. Met the Caretaker who visits every other week or so and cleans up the area, a very nice guy. Great Privy.

Crash
06-18-2010, 16:22
Spent the night there on 6/5/10. Fit 6 Snuggly, but lots of camping space.

It's in great condition and well looked after. Met the Caretaker who visits every other week or so and cleans up the area, a very nice guy. Great Privy.

Sorry I didn't introduce myself as Crash.
last year we had 9 guys in the shelter during a cold spell (28 degrees I think). It can be done.

Crash
09-14-2010, 13:38
The campsite up at Leroy Smith was trashed again. This time I found 30+ feces filled baby wipes all over the campsite. Don't people realize that baby wipes are not toilet paper and are made out of synthetic fibers that do not break down easily? The wipes were not at least buried or put under rocks. The wipes were strewn where the tents are placed and on top of the ferns. And all of this goes into your water at the spring. It was disappointing that they were so close to the privy but could not be bothered to put it in there.
Their trash of cans and plastics were left out too.

Do people think that the garbage magically disappears?

Old Hiker
09-14-2010, 14:19
Being sarcastic: of course, it disappears. The next time they go out to camp, all the trash from last trip is gone! Magic!

Thanks to you maintainers for putting up with it and for cleaning it up, as well as any hikers that help out. I wish someone would see what the trashers are doing AT THAT TIME and call them on it.

SoundWitness
09-23-2010, 20:29
The campsite up at Leroy Smith was trashed again. This time I found 30+ feces filled baby wipes all over the campsite. Don't people realize that baby wipes are not toilet paper and are made out of synthetic fibers that do not break down easily? The wipes were not at least buried or put under rocks. The wipes were strewn where the tents are placed and on top of the ferns. And all of this goes into your water at the spring. It was disappointing that they were so close to the privy but could not be bothered to put it in there.
Their trash of cans and plastics were left out too.

Do people think that the garbage magically disappears?

Crash.....

Thanks for maintaining this area. I appreciate it!! I plan on sectioning from Little Gap to DWG in late October. Any idea how those springs are doing this late in the season and with the lack of rainfall this year?

Thanks again for all your work......

SW

Crash
09-23-2010, 23:57
Spring #3 is always running. Spring 1 rarely runs & #2 only after heavy rain this time of year. Its just way, way down the hill so bring extra containers. There's no water between Leroy and Kirkridge except if you go to the motel or walk into Wind Gap.
Its a nice little shelter and a good campsite.

SoundWitness
09-25-2010, 16:13
Spring #3 is always running. Spring 1 rarely runs & #2 only after heavy rain this time of year. Its just way, way down the hill so bring extra containers. There's no water between Leroy and Kirkridge except if you go to the motel or walk into Wind Gap.
Its a nice little shelter and a good campsite.

Thanks for the info, Crash!

darkage
03-17-2011, 22:44
Been awhile since i've rolled thro this section, but leaving tomorrow for a weekend and will be passing through .. how's the water at the shelter here in mid march? I remember when i last passed thro i stayed at the campsite up off the trail and it was very well maintained ... human's will sadly be humans ...

Crash
03-17-2011, 22:52
I was up there late last week and the tent site was underwater.
Just go back farther for dry ground. The lean-to was in its usual great condition. Water was plentiful. Spring 1 is run off water so boil or filter it.

What night are you going up?

darkage
03-17-2011, 23:10
leaving tomorrow evening, i'll either start in little gap, or smith gap ... but i would bet on it being tomorrow evening i'll be around that area .... i'm a tenter, so just look for the carbon reflex ... tall guy, that'll be me ... if you're up that way and need a hand with anything just holla. doing more of a gear shakedown than putting on miles ...

Crash
03-18-2011, 17:13
I just got called into work for midnight shift so I can't make it up there tonight.
Have fun.

If anyone wants the 'shortcut' up to Leroy, Rte. 33 to Rte. 512 SOUTH. 2nd traffic light make a right (approx. 3 1/2 miles from Rte. 33) then another right and take it all the way to the base of the mtn. A left then a quick right into Gamelands parking lot. Take the blue trail 3/4 mile up the hill.

ljcsov
03-09-2012, 19:52
Went up Katellen to Leeroy today. First time there and I was thoroughly impressed. :)

I was really surprised with the tenting area! Looks like a happening place!

Crash
03-09-2012, 23:27
Its a great spot to tent & hammock.


Sent from my iPod touch.

lunchbx
03-10-2012, 08:25
I was up at kirkridge a few weekends ago it was mighty cold but very nice. This is one of my favorite spots to frequent since its close to where I live. Someone had took it upon themselves to build a fire pit inside of the overhang of the shelter, which I did use since it was ten degrees out overnight even though I didn't really approve of it. I did a little self motivated maintenance and picked up garbage, disassembled the impromptu fire pit and shoveled out the permanent fire pit outside of the shelter to try and discourage people from building their own. I started to sweep out the privy, but it was in such a horrid condition that I had to leave the job unfinished. It is almost to the point of overflowing and will need to be re-dug before the end of this coming season. Im sure the local trail maintainers are aware of this already but if anyone knows the persons in charge of this It would be nice if they let them know. Nelson overlook has a great view as always but I noticed no trespassing signs as you walk up the hill toward the back road leading to the religious retreat. My guess is there must have been some incident to prompt the posting of these signs because they definitely weren't there last season. All in all I feel I had a productive trip there :)

rdljr
10-22-2015, 18:45
32424Shelter was in nice shape yesterday, fire pit has a bunch of sprawl and it looks like someone tried to remove a bunch of brush using fire or lost control of the fire a bit in the front. I did see three young men headed up to the shelter on my way out. Either locals using it as a meeting point or perhaps young caretakers. Three springs well marked and The last one did have water, i did not check the first two as I was on the way to the car and still had way more water than I needed. As a tall person it looked like the shelter was a bit on the short side.

Crash
01-04-2016, 15:06
AMC put a new roof on Leroy Smith Dec. 27. I'm sorry I couldn't make it up for the work party. I was up there today Jan. 4th. The tree butting up behind the shelter was finally cut down. There are new big rocks around the fireplace. I can't wait to camp up there this month.

Crash
01-04-2016, 15:08
And two sets of hooks were installed to make hanging a tarp across easier.

SnowyRiverKayakMan
01-13-2016, 09:30
Hey Crash,

I was planning on heading up there this Friday night but won't get up there till close to dark. What are the names of the streets that I would be turning onto off RTE 512 south. Can't seem to find the parking lot on the map

Thanks

somers515
01-13-2016, 14:36
Type in Leroy Smith Shelter in Google maps and the parking lot will show up for the Katellan trail up to the shelter. When I went to this parking lot I turned off E. Mountain Road from Route 512. Then you have to make another right on Clearfield Road (I don't recall if that street was well marked or not), you come to a dead-end and then make a left and the parking lot is almost immediately on your right. Have a nice trip!

SnowyRiverKayakMan
01-13-2016, 15:58
Found it, thank you!

Do I need to worry about my car for the weekend there? Is it usually a safe place?

somers515
01-13-2016, 19:30
Found it, thank you!

Do I need to worry about my car for the weekend there? Is it usually a safe place?

Not sure. I was getting dropped off there and hiked back to my car parked at DWG. It's a pretty secluded spot - not sure if that's good or bad. I guess I would just take the normal precautions that people here recommend, leaving no valuables visible etc. etc.

Crash
01-13-2016, 22:53
The Katellen lot is ok. Theres a house across the street and other houses close to it.

The third spring always flows.


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SnowyRiverKayakMan
01-14-2016, 06:54
Thank you guys

SnowyRiverKayakMan
01-18-2016, 14:24
Stayed there Friday night. I hung my hammock in there and slept great with the rain bouncing off the new roof. Water was available at all 3 springs Friday night.

brewerywagon
05-29-2017, 16:51
The wife and I stayed there 5/27/17, the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. We stayed in the tent site on the other side of the power line cut from the shelter. Being a holiday weekend, it was pretty full. Lots of section hikers and flip floppers coming north from Harpers Ferry. The first spring was still running very well. The shelter and surrounding area looked neat and clean. The privy was in good shape.

Crash
06-04-2017, 13:46
One of the AMC-DV shelter maintainers cemented the fireplace rocks. Hopefully this will stop the 'rearrangement' that so many times happens.
Springs 2 & 3 are running great.

Nice to see a lot of hikers especially the flip-floppers using the shelter and tent site.


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Slugfoot
02-21-2020, 11:47
Hi there,

I'm considering a short weekend trip from Blue Mountain by the ski lodge NOBO to PA 33 and I want to spend Saturday night at the Leroy A. Smith shelter. My question is about Friday night, are there good trail side campsites past Weathering Knob to accommodate a group of 4 to 6 hikers? We're only looking to do 2 - 3 miles max because we'll be hiking in the evening after getting out of work.

Thanks, any insight would be appreciated.

Slo-go'en
02-21-2020, 12:30
Guthook shows a campsite 1.5 miles north of Blue Mountain road, which has parking for a few cars along the side of the road.

The comments for the site is "room for a few tents". Other comments are it's very rocky with lots of roots and has a tree right in the middle of it. The site is a 15-20 minute walk from the Slopeside pub but finding the path is not easy. Fitting 4-6 people there could be a problem, especially if everyone wants to be in their own tent.

There are no other campsites listed until Leroy Smith. If a site is not listed, your unlikely to find a spot. This area is littered with rocks poking out of the ground. Also note there is no water. There are a couple of springs between the campsite and the shelter, but they are a 500 foot decent and 0.2 to 0.3 miles off the trail.

Slugfoot
02-21-2020, 12:46
I was afraid that was the case. Thank you for your information. PA is just too rocky...

Crash
06-05-2020, 18:47
I was afraid that was the case. Thank you for your information. PA is just too rocky...

Thats why I hammock.


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SharonImm
09-10-2020, 11:49
I was up there a few weeks ago. There are definitely stealth sites between Blue Mountain Drive and Leroy Smith shelters that are not on Guthooks. There was a very large one that had stone seats and a huge fire pit, almost fireplace, but the grass was over grown. It would work in a pinch.