View Full Version : Calf Mountain Shelter

10-20-2002, 19:29
This is the southernmost shelter in what is traditionally considered Shenendoah National Park, but it is actually just south of the Park boundary and about 7 miles north of Rockfish Gap.

Shelter design is pretty basic, although things were pretty clean. We stopped in for lunch before pushing on to Rockfish Gap for the night since there springs were dry. This seems to be a perennial problem for Calf Mountain as well as Blackrocks Hut. However, we did find a usable trickle right by the Trail a few feet north of the marked (but dry) spring about 0.6 miles north of the shelter turn-off. The shelter's spring is 0.2 miles from the Trail, with the shelter another tenth of a mile further.

When water is scarce, I recommend that you cache water at Turks Gap further north or carry enough to get you to Loft Mountain Campground and avoid this shelter.

08-24-2003, 09:47
Some notes I posted over in the SNP Shelters thread:

I checked the Calf Mountain Shelter on 23 August 2003:

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.

09-06-2004, 19:03
We stayed here Sept 5, 2004. Spring close to shelter was running steady, but slow. This has been a fairly wet summer here in Virginia so it may well not be running in dryer years. Additionally, two marked springs within a mile north of the shelter were also flowly slowly.

I'd say that six tent sites at the shelter is a little generous. We saw four obvious ones, might be others that you could squeeze into. Not much high underbrush so hammocking would be a good choice. Outhouse was a little odorous but clean. Didn't see any critters in the area. There is a bear pole, but no hooks to hang anything from on it. Another couple we ran into on the trail reported seeing a bear about three miles north. We heard coyote(s?) in the morning.

All in all a nice, clean little shelter. Probably sleeps ten. Has a picnic table under the front overhang.

08-15-2005, 12:10
Stayed there Saturday night - August 6th 2005. The shelter was in good shape. We tented that night so can't really comment on hut critters. No issues with our food on the pole that night. There are a number of OK tent sites there, although finding a level one is a challenge. The piped spring which is on the approach trail was running fine. Filled a 32oz Nalgene in about 15 seconds.


10-26-2005, 12:00
Stayed there October 24th. The shelter is a typical double bunk style. The night of October 24th it rained and then snowed. The shelter needs some minor repair to stop the leaks. My friends and I had to keep moving our sleeping bags to stay dry. The piped spring was running fine.

04-28-2008, 22:52
stayed there on 4/25/08, shelter has a large resident rat with very active bowels.

04-29-2008, 00:27
I've stayed twice in the last two years and both times have been impressed by the amount of vermin in the area.

Thoughtful Owl
04-29-2008, 09:17
Need a resident cat!

Rain Man
04-29-2008, 09:42
Need a resident cat!

No, need a resident snake! :)



05-20-2008, 19:40
bears very active in the beagle gap/calf mtn area, but then again, its the woods.

05-20-2008, 21:46
a decent shelter. agree with the other posts regarding the leaking roof and the very active rodents in the shelter. had a bear come into the camp area early in the morning as well. i was there in august of last year(i think?) and the spring was actually running very good! haven't seen or heard of any recent news regarding the spring and the flow rate, but i imagine it is running fine right now.

09-02-2008, 22:21
Stayed one friday night in late august and needed earplugs to get to sleep due to the drag races going on at eastside speedway in Dooms.The wind must have been blowing up through the hollar preeety goood.Sometime around midnight I had the resident squirrel awaken me by running along the inside wall of the shelter.Coyotes were also heard so far off in the distance...or maybe not.

Pedaling Fool
09-03-2008, 08:52
It's a hole! And the infamous RAT, not mouse, still lives there.

09-03-2008, 09:03
I'd guess it was the dirtiest shelter of my 600-mile section last summer. In the morning, one sock was missing and one of my pole straps had been gnawed through. On the plus side -- the spring (between the shelter and the trail) was running well, in spite of it being a very dry summer.

10-05-2008, 13:35
didnt see the rat this weekend, or anything living inside.
in fact didnt see much wildlife at all around there. no deer, no bears, just a few squirrels.
tented there friday (sites need some leveling work, but oh well)
spring running fine

the damn drag races are running fine also. you can hear them all through the south end of the park. they were going up until 10 pm that i remember.

10-05-2008, 17:32
I was there a week or so ago and I think that the rat is a thing of the past. There was a box of Decon in the shelter. I didn't see any sign of the rat.

11-12-2011, 11:36
Got to the shelter at 10pm, was REALLY happy to get there!

PATC has painted the sleeping platforms and done work on the spring (PVC pipe set into the rocks).... amazing how clean a shelter feels after someone takes the time to haul some paint up to it! Thanks PATC!

11-12-2011, 21:15
A photograph of Calf Mountain Shelter;


05-24-2012, 20:29
I was at Calf Mountain Shelter on May 11th. The marked spring had a good flow out of the pipe. Nobody who stayed in the shelter nor the shelter log mentioned any problems with rats/mice.

At least 5 official tent sites, 1 bear pole, 2 privys.

10-08-2012, 12:57
Camped near the Calf Mtn Shelter on 10/6/2012. Water is flowing sufficiently from the Spring (PVC pipe). About 5-6 Official campsites but with tons of people (Scouts, thru-hikers, weekend warriors, section hikers, etc) there that night, I believe about 4 more tents were also setup in less than ideal spots (not level), shelter was full. Black snake was hanging around the Privy, tends to keep the mice population down, a good thing even though I hate snakes!! Coming north on the AT from Beagles Gap, the AT has been re-routed around Calf Mountain and brings you through the upper meadow on Little Calf Mtn summit, you used to have to take a spur trail to get there, great views.

10-29-2012, 14:55
As of 10/27/2012 Spring at Calf Mt. was running ok. rate 1 liter / 45 sec.

10-26-2017, 10:45
Anyone been to Calf Mountain lately? How's the spring running?

I know we had a pretty dry month so I am not hopeful..

Gambit McCrae
10-26-2017, 16:21
Mentioned on guthooks 10-18-17: "spring is a trickle, about 1liter/ 3 min rate of flow"

10-26-2017, 19:04
Super light 3 weeks ago.... we had 4 of us, and it took around 45 minutes to get 2 liters each... it was oddly inconsistent, randomly increasing/ decreasing flow... but still never stopped and that's all that matters!!

10-26-2017, 20:40
Was just at Calf Mtn this past Saturday night (10/21/17). Piped spring nearest the shelter was running...but a very thin stream, almost down to a drip. Be patient, but you can fill up.

(The stream or spring ID'd on Guthook that is .6 mile north of the shelter was not usable on that date. Recent rain on Sunday night (?) may have helped, but I wouldn't count on it.

If traveling NOBO from Calf Mountain, be advised that as of last week water was quite scarce. Carry all you can. Essentially nothing at Blackrock (2nd hand info), and water spigots at picnic grounds either turned of or require treatment.

Also, FYI: as of last Saturday, there was a closure to backcountry camping between RipRap Trailhead and Turk Mtn. trailhead due to a bad bear. Not more than 6-8 miles, but threw a wrench in my planned mileage.

11-03-2017, 21:44
Thanks for the info all. We ended up doing another section a little further south. Great weather this week.

01-15-2018, 09:55
Water was flowing well this weekend but the shelter looked like it had seen better days,was filled with debris, and showed signs of possible homeless activity.

01-28-2021, 16:25
Thanks KrizAkoni, I have been following your videos as I prepare to section hike the SNP

01-29-2021, 09:25
Thanks KrizAkoni, I have been following your videos as I prepare to section hike the SNP

just noting - KaptainKriz post was from 3 years ago

Gambit McCrae
01-29-2021, 16:12
From what I have always read, and my personal experience, this spring is pretty reliable. I used it in the middle of summer many years ago.

01-29-2021, 20:47
Thanks for the comment Snapranger! Indeed justhike, lol, it's almost a zombie post. Like Gambit said, this spring is usually pretty good. It's the 13 miles North of there that is dry before the next shelter that people forget.

just noting - KaptainKriz post was from 3 years ago