Available for preorder now!

Available for preorder now!

Whether you have spent a night or six months on the Appalachian Trail, every hiker eventually experiences one of the trail's iconic lean-tos or huts. More than 250 such backcountry structures exist on the 2,200-mile route, and they have welcomed hikers since the trail's inception in 1937. The Appalachian Trail organizes and assembles every single shelter for the first time in this informative and unique resource packed with trail and shelter photos, information, and detailed maps.


The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) defines the term shelter, sometimes referred to as a lean-to, as a ‘three-sided structure, with or without bunks or floors, intended as overnight housing for hikers.’ The term shelter on the A.T. can also include enclosed structures, unlocked cabins and the hut system in the White Mountains run by the AMC. Built, maintained and preserved with thousands of hours by dedicated trail clubs and volunteers, shelters have always been and continue to be an integral part of the trail experience.


Photographer and writer Sarah Jones Decker thru-hiked the AT in 2008 and re-hiked it again in 2018 and 2019 for this massive documentary project. Decker worked with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy--and in collaboration with the trail community of hikers, historians, photographers, writers, and clubs--to produce this first-of-its-kind resource. It is the ideal gift for anyone planning or dreaming of a hike on the AT.

You can learn more about the history and design of all of the shelters on the Appalachian Trail in my new book, The Appalachian Trail: Backcountry Shelters, Lean-tos, and Huts, out April 2020 with Rizzoli Publications in New York.

Rainbow Springs Lean-to, built 1971

Rainbow Springs Lean-to, built 1971