Best Hostel Meals on the Appalachian Trail
If you ask any hiker, there is always one topic that is constantly on our minds: food. When am I going to eat next? What food will I eat? How much longer until I’m in town and can get more food? The list of questions goes on and on, spinning in a hiker’s head even in our dreams. Luckily, there are plenty of options along the Appalachian Trail where we can quench our hunger and feed our food deprived selves. What’s even better is that there are hostels that not only provide us with a place to sleep, but that also serving amazing, homemade meals.
Below is a list of our favorite hostel meals along the Appalachian Trail, ordered from south to north.
Town: Roan Mountain, TN
Address: 9151 US-19E, Roan Mountain TN, 37687
Phone Number: (866) 772-9494
What it’s known for: Walking distance from the trail, you’ll know when you get to this beautiful farm when you see grazing goats and a footbridge over a burbling creek. This little piece of paradise is famous for their popular family-style breakfast, 24-hour coffee and hot chocolate bar, and a hiker’s fix of farm animals. Mountain Harbor added a food truck to their repertoire during the 2017 season, and the truck’s menu offers – but is definitely not limited to- burgers, french fries, hot dogs, hearty salads, and baked pastas.
Town: Hot Springs, NC
Address: 26 Walnut Street, Hot Springs NC, 28743
Phone Number: (828) 622-7206
What it’s known for: Elmer is known trail-wide for his gourmet, homemade, organic and vegetarian meals. Ever since Earl Shaffer stopped by in 1948, hikers have been finding good food and hospitality at this historic inn. Breakfast costs $6 and dinner is $12. One of his famous breakfasts includes warm waffles topped with fresh fruit, all served family style.
Town: Pearisburg, VA
Address: 3696 Sugar Run Road, Pearisburg VA, 24134
Phone Number: (540) 921-3444
What it’s known for: This place is a slice of heaven that is not to be missed. Woods Hole offers home cooked, family-style meals that are made from local, organic, and homegrown foods. Fan favorites here are the homemade bread and organic salad (that is pulled straight from the garden). One of the most special aspects about the meals served at Woods Hole is the communal based aspect of food preparation and clean-up. They offer up the ingredients, and Neville then leads the team in creating the meal. Dinner costs $14, and breakfast is included with your room (or there is a “Broke Hiker Jar” for those who may not be able to afford the meal & room).
Town: Palmerton, PA
Address: 416 Delaware Ave, Palmerton PA 18071
Phone Number: (610) 826-9921
What it’s known for: Imagine a hostel located directly behind an old fashioned American diner that’s ready to serve up as many pancakes, eggs, and bacon that you could imagine starting at 7am; that’s what Bert’s is all about. With a plethora of amazing diner food for an even better price, this is the perfect place to rest and refuel amongst the rocks of Pennsylvania. The diner owners welcome hikers to stay in the garage hostel behind the diner, which offers a hot shower for a small cost.
Town: Lee, MA
Address: NOBO Mile 1,548.1/SOBO Mile 641.0*, on a side trail north of the pond.
Phone Number: (413) 454-4773 or (212) 942-6910
What it’s known for: The word “pancakes” is basically synonymous with ‘Upper Goose Pond’. Although not technically a hostel, the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) hut is exclusive to AT thru-hikers and section hikers. You may even decide to take a zero while you’re here, because in addition to enjoying the daily pancake breakfast you get the chance to paddle, swim, or just relax next to the serene pond. This AMC hut is open from May – October and should not be missed.
Town: Rutland, VT
Address: 23 Center Street, Rutland VT, 05701
Phone Number: (802) 683-9378 or (802) 775-9800
What it’s known for: Not only do you get to eat well in their deli, which offers plenty of sandwiches, salads, desserts, breakfast options, and even has a juice bar with smoothies, but you get the chance to take a day trip to give them a hand on the farm from which much of their food originates. With options ranging from Reuben sandwiches, buffalo chicken sandwiches, veggie burgers, chili, and fresh fruit, you are sure to find something super satisfying for every hungry hiker.
Rattle River Lodge & Hostel (formerly the White Mountain Lodge & Hostel)
Town: Gorham, NH
Address: 592 US-2, Shelburne NH, 03581
Phone Number: (603) 466-5049
What it’s known for: Located right on the AT, this hostel provides a gourmet breakfast that is sure to help you conquer the Whites. Some favorites include french toast casserole, homemade muffins, sausage and bacon, and eggs whipped up differently every morning.
Town: Caratunk, ME
Address: NOBO Mile 2,033.9/SOBO Mile 155.2*, blue blaze loop to camp
Phone Number: (207) 672-3625 or (207) 612-8184
What it’s known for: All-American 12 pancake breakfast ($9-12, depending on your eggs/meat choices) served at 7am, right next to the Pierce Pond shelter. You can stay the night at Harrison’s camp or make a reservation for just breakfast. Either way, you can’t beat waking up to pancakes and coffee while you’re in the woods.
Town: Caratunk, ME
Address: 218 Maine Street, Caratunk ME
Phone Number: (207) 672-4349
What it’s known for: Milkshakes made in a vintage Hamilton Beach mixer, and fresh made-to-order pizzas that may make you “accidentally” miss the Kennebec River ferry. In addition to the amazing pizza and milkshakes, do not be surprised to find yourself immersed in conversation and games with several other thru-hikers who decided to hang out at Paul’s.
Town: Andover, ME
Address: 497 East Andover Road, Andover ME, 04216
Phone Number: (207) 392-1333
What it’s known for: AYCE family style options for breakfast and dinner that are homemade by the sweet owners, Honey & Bear, and served at the dining room table. The menu changes daily depending on the number and preferences of the hikers at the Cabin. Regardless of what’s for dinner, Bear will not let you leave until you get your fill of Moosetracks ice cream. Past menu options have included spaghetti with meat sauce, salmon, and it’s even rumored that they’ve served lobster.
Town: Monson, ME
Address: 17 Pleasant Street, Monson ME, 04464
Phone Number: 207-997-3597
What it’s known for: The famous $9 breakfast made by Poet is a necessity right before/after you complete the 100 Mile Wilderness. Breakfast at Shaw’s typically includes eggs, pancakes, and homefries. Stopping here is quickly becoming an AT tradition, and it is a great place to celebrate the Monson milestone of your hike while being surrounded by great company and fellow thru-hikers. You can check out their gear shop while you’re there and pick up some crucial knowledge from these experienced AT thruhikers.
The AT Lodge in Millinocket, ME runs the Appalachian Trail Cafe just down the street. Grab a squash donut before you head up Katahdin 🙂
Did we miss one of your favorites? What are some of your favorite hostel meals that you had while hiking along the Trail?
*Specific mileage may vary year to year
Featured graphic courtesy Katie Bumatay
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