Archived Outdoors

Overmountain Shelter to be removed from the A.T.

The shelter shows signs of aging  and rotting wood. U.S. Forest Service photo The shelter shows signs of aging and rotting wood. U.S. Forest Service photo

After closing it four years ago, the U.S. Forest Service has decided to decommission and remove the Overmountain Shelter, located on the Appalachian Trail near Roan Mountain. 

The decision came following a structural engineering assessment and consideration of health and safety, long-term sustainability, current management plants and partner input from the Tennessee Eastman Hiking and Canoeing Club and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. 

“This was a tough decision to make,” said Appalachian District Ranger Jen Barnhart. “Many people have fond memories of staying at the shelter, and we empathize with those who will miss the Overmountain Shelter.”

Located in Avery County, the shelter was originally a barn on a private farm that was acquired by the Forest Service in 1979. The Tennessee Eastman Hiking and Canoeing Club converted the barn into a trail shelter in 1986. Despite efforts to maintain it, the barn has become structurally unsound and cannot be safely occupied. Slope movement has caused a significant downhill lean in the structure, and a support beam snapped under the large upper loft.

The shelter has been closed since 2019 due to structural damage and public safety. Repairing it was not considered sustainable given the extent of structural damage, and rebuilding it would not have met the management plans for the A.T. and the Pisgah National Forest. Tent camping continues to be available on the field at the site, and the Stan Murray Shelter is located 2 miles to the south.

The Overmountain Shelter will be removed this week. Partner organizations may use some of the materials for commemorative purposes. The pit privy nearby will remain but may be improved for future use, and a bench may be installed in the shelter footprint.

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