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  1. #1
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    Default Best Lean-To's/Shelters on the trail

    Howdy! I will be starting my thru-hike in early May after college graduation. I am absolutely stoked to start. Late last summer I did a section hike of the 100 mile wilderness and distinctly remember "Cooper Brook Falls" as the best Lean-To location on the section. It was situated right above a great swimming hole. It got me thinking though, what are some other noteworthy Lean-Tos worth staying at along the rest of the trail?

  2. #2

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    I've hiked from northern NH to Central VA, and there are quite a few nice shelters. Hexacuba (NH), Stratton Pond (VT), Upper Goose Pond and The Hemlocks (MA), Riga (for the view, CT), a couple in PA and MD whose names escape me now, and Bryant Ridge (VA) are some you might want to consider.

  3. #3
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    Tray Mountain Shelter area down in Georgia is a great place to stay. Beautiful tent sites with awesome views.

  4. #4

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    Gentian Pond shelter in NH has a nice location, right next to a waterfall that looks out over the surrounding hills. West Mountain Shelter is on spur trail off the AT in NY , no reliable water and its pretty beat up but the view down the Hudson is impressive. Speck Pond shelter in Maine. Overmountain Shelter in the Roan Highlands is actually an old tobacco barn but great views down the valley (although the barn is a cold place to sleep as the wind whistles through it ). Crag Camp in the whites is on spur trail but is quite spectacular, right on the edge of Kings Ravine. Ed Garvey Shelter in Maryland. Much as they get picked on AMCs Madison Hut, Lake of the Clouds and Greenleaf Huts are hard to beat for location and views (but very pricey and crowded) and definitely not lean tos. Of course there are some non shelters that hikers like to stay in like a few firetowers along the way. Great views but not a place to be in bad weather.

    There are many architectural wonders along the trail but they tend to be in wooded areas so I don't rate them special. Most of the Smokies shelters were that way, nice places to stay but hidden away in the woods. Unfortunately most shelters tend to located in saddles and in the woods as water is more available.

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    I've only hiked about 400 miles or so of the trail, but Bryant Ridge shelter is my favorite so far. the place is a palace compared to the others I've seen.AT Sept 14 2013 086.jpg

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by daddytwosticks View Post
    Tray Mountain Shelter area down in Georgia is a great place to stay. Beautiful tent sites with awesome views.
    +1

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  7. #7

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    Fun thread... I agree with the other posters. I liked Overmountain Shelter and I do like Bryant Ridge... nice pic JJ.

  8. #8

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    And I second West Mountain shelter in NY. Was there in a screaming lightning storm, and we all watched the sound and light show over the New York City skyline. Really outstanding.

  9. #9
    Thru-hiker 2013 NoBo CarlZ993's Avatar
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    Technically not a shelter... but, I liked Upper Goose Pond Cabin. 1/2 mile off the trail. Nice lake that you could canoe on (cabin had some canoes you could use). Fully enclosed from bugs & elements. For $5, you got a bunk and a pancake breakfast (w/ coffee) in the morning from the caretaker. What a deal!

    Several talked about Tray Mountain. I stayed there in a snow storm. It was cold. Very cold. Don't remember much scenery. Ate supper & jumped in my sleeping bag for warmth.

    I agree that Cooper Brook Falls Lean-to was a nice site. Some places had really nice sites & so-so shelter. Others had some nice shelters at so-so sites. Rarely did you have both.

  10. #10
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    Bryant Ridge shelter is a great place. Stayed there in 2012 and can wait to stay again in 2014.

  11. #11

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    The best shelter is the one you get to when you're cold, wet and in bad need of a way to get out of the rain, get some water and take a break.
    The worst one is the when you find the one above and there are 30 people in it standing there (standing room only) and no one smiling.
    You'll be cursing the shelters when THAT happens.

    Doesn't matter what they look like, as long as they are a roof in the storm.

    I wouldn't stay in them, unless absolutely necessary; full of mice, toilet paper not far away (used), and hikers either snoring loudly or staying up talking.

    Just move on and once in a while, you'll find one that is the right place, empty at the right time, and you'll think it's the best one ever.


    Shelters remind me of convenience stores in towns.
    I never really understood why people hang out there, drinking coffee, smoking, panhandling, looking rough.
    I just don't feel comfortable in that crowd.
    Don't let your fears stand in the way of your dreams

  12. #12
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    Quarry Gap in PA. IMG_0169.JPG

  13. #13

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    Pierce Pond lean-to just south of the Kennebeck in Maine is a very relaxing place with an awesome view of the pond. It is nothing to speak of architecturally, but you can't beat the location.

  14. #14
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    The Secret Shelter right before Governor Clement Shelter in Central Vermont is my favorite, secluded, nice, not a lot of people know about it, particularly locals, and also stocked with toilet paper, books, candles, etc.

  15. #15
    Digger takethisbread's Avatar
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    Fontana Hilton : hot showers
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  16. #16

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    Gentian Pond and Overmountain for views, hands down. Vanderventer is good too, but you have to go round back for the view. Some are noteable for thier architectual aspects, some for thier views. But since most shelters are well, sheltered, not too many have views. On the other end of the spectrum, one of the worst is Walnut Mt shelter in NC.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Gentian Pond and Overmountain for views, hands down. Vanderventer is good too, but you have to go round back for the view. Some are noteable for thier architectual aspects, some for thier views. But since most shelters are well, sheltered, not too many have views. On the other end of the spectrum, one of the worst is Walnut Mt shelter in NC.
    +2 .

  18. #18
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    For the hands down, best shelter is the Cabin At Upper Goose Pond. It's a inclosed cabin with a fire place, located on a pond. It offers bunks with mattress, swimming, a canoe to use, under cover eating area, two nice privies with toilet paper, pancake and coffee breakfast and a wonderfull caretaker. all this for just a donation. It's a deal like no other on the AT.
    Grampie-N->2001

  19. #19
    Registered User Drybones's Avatar
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    2013_04130031.jpgDon't recall the name but this stone shelter outside Atkins but it was pretty nice, enclosed 4 sides, windows, bunks, great views. Only ate lunch there but in bad weather it would be great.
    2013_04130031.jpg

  20. #20

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    dscn0771.jpg

    i stayed at overmountain shelter this past april. the shelter could probably accomodate some 30 hikers. the night i was there it was just me, grizzley, homebrew,shaman and gardengirl.it was a full moon rising over the ridge that night, and just before the moon came up, the entire ridge lit up. it was one of those surreal magical moments, as we sat in total silence for over an hour.

    dscn0779.jpg


    dscn0774_359667.jpg

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