If your trail section is remote or difficult to access, you can use a Shenandoah National Park Maintenance Hut, PATC Trail Center, Shelter, or cabin to support your worktrip.
Shenandoah National Park Maintenance Huts
In the late 1970s, Shenandoah National Park set aside three A.T. huts—one in each Park district—for the exclusive use of PATC trail maintainers. These structures are known as “Maintenance Huts.” All three huts are located a short distance off Skyline Drive and the Appalachian Trail, making them practical base camps for extended work trips.
Trail crew leaders can reserve a hut; otherwise, maintainers staying in a hut share that hut with other maintainers.
Cost & Reservations
Trail maintainers in Shenandoah National Park are not charged to use the Maintenance Huts. Each maintainer receives a key that operates the locks on the tools caches and the Maintenance Huts. PATC does have a reservation system for the Maintenance Huts—call the Trails Coordinator to use this system. However…since all PATC trail maintainers in Shenandoah National Park have a key to the Maintenance Huts, the huts are essentially available only to them on a non-exclusive, first-come, first-served basis.
Maintainers of SNP trails can only stay overnight at a Maintenance Hut when working on their trail section or Hut or when working with other PATC maintainers. Hut capacities vary from four to eight people.
Sign the logbook in the Maintenance Hut! This simple act helps PATC gauge hut usage and helps us keep the huts available for your use.
The same key used for the tools caches is used to open the locked maintenance huts.
A front panel and locked door have been added to each Maintenance Hut. Ivy Creek has a fireplace inside while South River and Indian Run have outdoor fireplaces. All huts have 4 – 6 bunks for sleeping, some have mattresses, but no blankets. All have some cook pots and utensils available. Huts offer very basic accommodation and are especially useful in inclement weather.
Indian Run Maintenance Hut is located just northeast of Compton Gap in the North District. To access this hut, head south on the Skyline Drive from Front Royal approximately 10 miles to the Compton Gap parking area on the left (SDMP 10). Follow the A.T. north to the intersection with the Dickey Ridge trail. Turn right opposite Dickey Ridge trail and hike downhill on the fire road to the hut. Water for this hut is located back up the fire road from the hut on the right and in the woods. This hut is a bit over 0.5 mile from Compton Gap parking area.
South River Maintenance Hut is located just south of the South River Picnic Area in the Central District. To access the hut, head north on the Skyline Drive from US Route 33 and look for the gated fire road to your right just past the parking area for the Dean Cemetery (SDMP 63). Follow the fire road for 0.75 mile to the hut. A small spring is located in front of the hut to the left but it may be dry in July or August. This is a small, secluded hut.
In the South District, the Ivy Creek Maintenance Hut is located just north of the Loft Mountain Campground about 0.5 mile from Skyline Drive and the Loft Mountain Wayside. Parking is available at the Wayside; cross Skyline Drive (SDMP 79) and turn right down the gated fire road. At the road junction just below the gate, turn left and hike to Ivy Creek Maintenance Hut. A good spring is located by the hut on the Appalachian Trail access trail.
Trail centers are ideal locations for overnight group work trips. Two Trail Centers are available to maintainers:
Blackburn Trail Center
The Blackburn Trail Center is located near Round Hill, Va.
Reservations: If you want to reserve the Blackburn Trail Center, the PATC Cabins Coordinator will give you the number to call the facility manager, who must approve your reservation. Directions and the key will be mailed to you when you make your reservation.
J. Frank Schairer Trail Center
The Schairer Trail Center located in the South District of Shenandoah National Park on a blue-blazed trail leading west from the Eaton Hollow Overlook (SDMP 70.5).
Reservations: Contact the Cabins Coordinator (ext. 108) at PATC HQ to reserve the use of the Schairer Trail Center. Directions and the key will be mailed to you when you make your reservation.
The Trail Centers are fully-equipped facilities with bunks, mattresses, kitchens, and fireplaces (each still has a privy). Both Trail Centers have running water.
Cabin work trips have priority over trail work trips.
Plan your trip! You must make your reservation for the J. Frank Schairer Trail Center at least three (3) months before your trip. This facility is a very, very popular rental for PATC members.
Maintainers may also use PATC cabins as a base of operation to perform trail work. However this is a less preferred method, since your reservation may keep other Club members or the public from enjoying and using the cabins. Overseers are not charged a fee for using PATC cabins. Three-day weekends should always be avoided when making cabin reservations. Worktrip reports must be submitted following your trip. It is preferred that any worktrip using a cabin be advertised in the Potomac Appalachian and in the online Calendar.
Cabins have mattresses, bunks, wood stoves, fireplaces, cooking pots, utensils, cups, and plates. Maintainers may purchase a guide describing the cabins in the PATC system for a small fee. Contact the HQ Sales Coordinator (ext. 103) for more information.
Contact the Cabins Coordinator (ext. 108) at PATC HQ to make a worktrip-related cabin reservation. Plan ahead and make your reservation three (3) months prior to your trip date. If you attempt to reserve a cabin less than three months prior to your worktrip, the cabin will likely already be reserved.
Worktrip reservations do not override existing cabin reservations. If you need to use a cabin, plan ahead and make your reservation at least two months ahead of your scheduled trip.
Maintainers may use all the three-sided shelters along the Appalachian Trail and Tuscarora Trail, excluding those within the boundaries of Shenandoah National Park, for overnight accommodations during the off season. From June to September, please refrain from using the A.T. shelters. These shelters are maintained for long distance hikers, some of whom may not be carrying a tent. Any time a shelter becomes full, maintainers not hiking should pull out their tent and make room for other hikers.
Remember, shelters are filled on a first come, first served basis. You are required to share these facilities with others if they show up. Three sided shelters are open to the weather on one side, and may have bunks inside. A stone fireplace is located in front of the shelter.
There may also be public or private campgrounds nearby that you can use, also. For a fee, of course.
The Great Outdoors
If you're the more rugged type, backpack in and camp out. This keeps you close to your work site and allows you to maximize your work efforts. If you're leading a work trip, you might be surprised to find many participants interested in camping out and staying for a second day of work.
Any maintainer camping out in Shenandoah National Park must obtain a backcountry permit from the Park and follow all relevant rules and regulations.