The Overmountain Shelter is located near Yellow Mountain Gap (4,682 feet) on the Appalachian Trail. The shelter’s name is derived from the Overmountain Men, who passed through the Gap on their way from Sycamore Shoals (now called Elizabethton), Tennessee to defeat the British Army at Kings Mountain, South Carolina during the Revolutionary War. That defeat freed the American South from British domination, and was a turning point in the war.
From the shelter, there are outstanding views of the Roaring Creek Valley and Yellow Mountain. The grassy bald areas of Yellow Mountain are especially beautiful, and the Roaring Creek Valley dressed in fall colors is a sight not to be missed.
The Overmountain Shelter is also known as the Yellow Mountain Barn — because it was once a hay barn! It is one of the the largest shelters on the Appalachian Trail, with a sleeping capacity for at least 35 people. The shelter has two stories, which are connected by stairs. The lower story has areas for sleeping, cooking, and eating, and the upper story is intended only for sleeping.
By 1993, it became obvious that improvements were needed to the shelter, to prevent deterioration of the structure. During the years 1993-1997, TEHCC made the following improvements:
- Reinforced the structure
- Added drainage pipes on the rear (uphill) side
- Installed safety railings on the stairs and second-story window
- Installed benches next to the second-story window
- Added a new roof
- Removed dust from the first floor and replaced it with gravel
- Added two sleeping platforms on the first floor
- Installed a picnic table
- Weatherproofed the cracks in the barn’s outside walls
- Painted it “barn red”
Funding for these improvements was provided through the ATC’s “Grants to Clubs” program, which is largely funded by L.L. Bean. Additional funding was provided by the U.S. Forest Service’s “Challenge Cost Share Grant” program, and by TEHCC.