View on the Way to Thomas Knob Shelter

We started our day with breakfast at the hotel. Frosty had scrambled eggs, and I had a cinnamon roll. Then we checked out and waited for our shuttle driver. This was a very interesting shuttle. Our shuttle driver was very social. He had many great stories and talked about his philosophies and beliefs that he was questioning and exploring.

View on the Way to Thomas Knob Shelter

A unique and amusing, and to some probably frightening, aspect of our shuttle ride was that our driver didn’t use his feet for the break/gas pedal. He controlled these with his cane. I could tell he was very experienced in this practice as we wound our way up the curvy forest service road on Whitetop Mountain. We did have one quick and startling stop as we rounded a corner and had to immediately stop for some road construction.

View on the Way to Thomas Knob Shelter

We were dropped at the trailhead off USFS 89 high up on Whitetop Mountain. We had a late start to our hiking day, after noon, due to the availability of the shuttle driver and the long shuttle involved.

View on the Way to Thomas Knob Shelter

There were a few viewpoints today in some mountain meadows, but we were in the woods most of the day. This was our first day of hiking during this trip without rain.

View on the Way to Thomas Knob Shelter

We met one hiker, Pink Panther, going SOBO (south). We would later find out that she had gotten turned around and thought that she was hiking north. We passed the half mile spur trail to the summit of Mount Rogers, Virginia’s highest mountain. The summit was described in the Guthooks AT trail app as “densely wooded covered in moss and pine trees,” so we didn’t go up to the summit.

View on the Way to Thomas Knob Shelter

Our stopping point for the day was the Thomas Knob shelter. We reached it early. Our hiking day only brought us 6.6 trail miles. We wanted to take it easy getting back on trail. There were a couple of families vacationing together hanging out at the shelter.  The two middle school aged boys stayed on the bottom floor of the shelter. The rest of their families tented nearby. There were many other hikers tenting all around the shelter. This area (along with Grayson Highlands) is a vacation hiking destination.

Thomas Knob Shelter

Frosty and I set up in the top floor of the shelter. The shelter didn’t fill up. It remained only the four of us staying in the shelter. The privy for this shelter was nice, large and airy. There’s a bear box here. I love the convenience of a bear box.

Privy at Thomas Knob Shelter

This shelter is at 5,412 feet of elevation. There are many places around the shelter to sit and enjoy the sweeping views of mountains and meadows.

View in the Area Near Thomas Knob Shelter

We had Forever Young Mac and Cheese for supper, my favorite. Yum! The enclosed top floor of the shelter kept us warm during the chilly night.

Top Floor of Thomas Knob Shelter


Meadow View Near Thomas Knob Shelter

We Stayed on the Top Floor of Thomas Knob Shelter

View in the Near Thomas Knob Shelter

View on the Way to Thomas Knob Shelter




I like to get outdoors and enjoy life. I hike, snowshoe, run races, travel, camp, and sometimes just sit.

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