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  1. #1
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    Default SNP Trail shelters

    We would like to plan an over night on the AT in SNP, New to overnight hiking and we have a few friends who would like to join us that do not own a tent so we were thinking of using the trail shelters, My question is; when is the best time to plan a trip using the shelters that WOULD NOT interfere with any thru hikers? I feel the thru hikers deserve to use the shelters and not find a group of weekenders taking up space, I have a tent but 3 of the folks wanting to go do not. Also, I Love the WB and all the wonderful info that is shared here, Thank you all!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Annie68 View Post
    We would like to plan an over night on the AT in SNP, New to overnight hiking and we have a few friends who would like to join us that do not own a tent so we were thinking of using the trail shelters, My question is; when is the best time to plan a trip using the shelters that WOULD NOT interfere with any thru hikers? I feel the thru hikers deserve to use the shelters and not find a group of weekenders taking up space, I have a tent but 3 of the folks wanting to go do not. Also, I Love the WB and all the wonderful info that is shared here, Thank you all!

    there is never a time when you do not run the risk of showing up at a shelter that is already full, especially in a busy national park. i would suggest planning it so you can just stay at one of the lodges, which take reservations, or hiking in the smokies where you can reserve shelter space.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Annie68 View Post
    My question is; when is the best time to plan a trip using the shelters that WOULD NOT interfere with any thru hikers? I feel the thru hikers deserve to use the shelters and not find a group of weekenders taking up space
    all shelters on the AT are first come, first served. thru-hikers are not special. they're on vacation. if anything they should not use shelters

  4. #4
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    Just go. You did not indicate what a "few friends" might add up to. So I'm thinking 4 to 6 people. By the time thruhikers reach this location they are spread out so much that it won't make much difference. This years non-winter has them spread out even more. Last Fall I hiked the entire park in late October during the busy Fall color season and did not have much trouble finding space in shelters. Becasuse of the nearness to roads there are quite a few car campers. I opted to camp near Birds Nest #3 because some local teenagers were having a beer party in the shelter. The South end of the park has far less people. You can never count on finding a space in the Huts/shelters. Before June and after October when park services are closed is the best time to avoid crowds. Another thing you can do is avoid weekends. Another thing to do is get up early and hike so you can arrive at your intended hut/shelter by 3pm. Most long distance hikers won't be getting off the trail for the night until after that time. If your friends have no tent they should carry a large section of plastic sheet and some line to rig a tarp in an emergency. I'm not hitting the trail anywhere, even the Smokies with reservations without a way to make a tent.

  5. #5
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    I just hiked the SNP section last week and the huts were not crowded. In fact, I spent three nights completely alone. Most of the NOBO traffic has passed. Not sure when the SOBO picks up but last week I experienced a lot of solitude

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Annie68 View Post
    We would like to plan an over night on the AT in SNP, New to overnight hiking and we have a few friends who would like to join us that do not own a tent so we were thinking of using the trail shelters, My question is; when is the best time to plan a trip using the shelters that WOULD NOT interfere with any thru hikers? I feel the thru hikers deserve to use the shelters and not find a group of weekenders taking up space, I have a tent but 3 of the folks wanting to go do not. Also, I Love the WB and all the wonderful info that is shared here, Thank you all!
    Thru-hikers don't deserve your deference. But if you want to avoid thru-hikers, then most of the year would do. You'd see tons of northbounders in the Late-May to June period. And southbounders (I'm guessing) October time frame, but they will be a much smaller group, if you could even call them a group. The northbounders will definitely be coming thru in groups.

  7. #7
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    If you are going to follow the rules, you cannot use the huts in SNP if you are only out for 1 night:

    "The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC) maintains a system of backcountry huts and cabins in Shenandoah National Park. Huts are three-sided structures located along the Appalachian Trail and for use by long-term hikers (who are out for three consecutive nights or more). Backcountry camping permits are required for camping in huts, and all park backcountry camping regulations apply."
    ~~
    Allen "Monkeywrench" Freeman
    NOBO 3-18-09 - 9-27-09
    blog.allenf.com
    allen@allenf.com
    www.allenf.com

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    I would never count on being able to use a shelter, unless you are prepared to keep going to the next one if you find one full. Rather, carry a tarp (even a cheap piece of blue poly from Home Depot/Lowes/Menards) to use in the event the shelter doesn't work out. They don't weight much....according to R.E.I., a 6x8 weighs 11 ounces (don't forget guide lines or something to tie it to trees with): http://www.rei.com/category/4500664

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    Thank you all for the advice!

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