If you love the outdoors and want to spend time hiking along the Appalachian Trail, but aren't ready to backpack, consider renting a primitive, semi-modern or modern cabin instead.
The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC) rents 15 public cabins and 19 members-only cabins in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. Most of these cabins are primitive (no electricity, running water or flush toilets) but a few are modern or semi-modern. Rates vary depending on the size of the cabin and the day of the week you wish to rent it. Most of the cabins are very near the Appalachian Trail. You can drive right up to some of the cabins, while you'll need to hike in to others.
About Potomac Appalachian Trail Club Cabins
The typical primitive PATC cabin offers shelter, mattresses and blankets, cooking pots and utensils, dishes and silverware and heat via a wood-burning stove. Firewood is provided, but you are expected to replenish the woodpile. Cabins do not have electricity or running water; in fact, you will need to bring in your own drinking water or collect and filter it. Your bathroom will be an outhouse near, but not next to, your cabin. You may encounter animals, large and small, during your stay. Heating and road access may be issues during the winter months. As you might expect, you'll have to carry all of your trash out with you when you leave.
PATC cabins may sound too low-tech for today's traveler (particularly the outhouse aspect), but people who love to camp and hike will appreciate the opportunity to vacation in a solidly-built mountain cabin that offers shelter and still features the best parts of camping – quiet solitude, natural beauty, recreational opportunities and outdoor skills. Staying in a PATC cabin is definitely easier than backpacking, and it's an amazingly relaxing experience.
Reserving Your Potomac Appalachian Trail Club Cabin
You can reserve a public PATC cabin by telephone or in person up to two months before your intended stay. Weekend rates are typically $45 - $70 per night with a two-night minimum. Weekday rates range from $15 to $65 per night. You'll need to prepay with a Visa or MasterCard (or by cash or personal check, if you make your reservation in person) when you make your reservation. If you are interested in renting a private (members-only) cabin, you will need to become a member of the PATC before you make your reservation (senior dues are $30 per year for an individual and $35 per year for a couple). Cancellation penalties apply.