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.

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Mountain Harbor

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.

Elmer’s Sunnybank Inn

Image from PlantingCabbages.com

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.

Woods Hole Hostel

Image from WoodsHoleHostel.com

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).

Bert’s Diner 

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.

Upper Goose Pond

Image from BerkshireHiker.com

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.

The Yellow Deli

Image from YellowDeli.com/rutland

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)

Image from RiverRattleHostel.com

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.

Harrison’s Pierce Pond Camps

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.

The Caratunk House 

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. 

The Cabin

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.

Shaw’s Hiker Hostel

Image from ShawsHikerHostel.com

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.

Honorable Mention

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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Comments 6

  • Nanook : Oct 12th

    Hey Emily,
    I have “urban stealth camped” for over three months now.I get my new backpacking equipment delivered to the UPS store.
    BTW, I’m 60, work two jobs and will be hiking the AT in the spring, just finished paddling the entire Mississippi River!
    Take care,
    Nanook

    Reply
  • Snow White : Oct 13th

    Rock n Sole Hostel: Craig wanted a hostel, his wife wanted a Bed And Breakfast. You get a great place to stay, dinner and breakfast, on the front porch.. a great place, wonderful food and perfect hosts! Not to be missed.

    Reply
  • Journeyman : Oct 13th

    Hefty’s breakfast at Quarter Way Hostel and Yukon’s pancakes at Human Nature Hostel can’t be missed!

    Reply
  • Tolmann : Oct 13th

    +1 on Rock and Sole and Bert’s!

    Reply
  • Betsy "Ziptie" '16 : Oct 13th

    Rock and Sole! How could they be overlooked in this list? 🙂

    Reply
  • William HotSauce Miller : Oct 20th

    Bearded Woods

    Reply

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