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Trail Updates

Keep up-to-date with the latest conditions on the Trail.

trailwide updates


Hiker Alert


With the current elevated fire danger across much of the East, hikers are asked to do their part to help protect the trails and forests by using extreme care with fire. Avoid the use of ground fire, even in fire rings, and instead rely on your backpack stove for cooking. This eliminates the potential of leaving dangerous hot coals behind. Additionally, hikers are asked to douse unattended fires and report any large smoke columns promptly to the local 911 dispatch.

Due to the low humidity, warm temperatures, and dry fuel conditions, many Trail states currently have high fire warnings or watches in effect.

Check local conditions and alerts when planning your hike. Watch for and obey all trail closures.

Follow instructions for alternate routes that may be identified during fires or fire-fighting activities. Temporary closures and detours are for your safety and will be lifted as soon as conditions permit.


VA - ​Appalachian Trail in Shenandoah National Park
has re-opened


(Updated 12:45pm, 4/30/16) The section of the Appalachian Trail closed by the Rocky Mtn Fire in Shenandoah National Park is now open. Skyline Drive re-opened 4/29.  For information about the status of other trails in the park, check the SNP Alerts webpage.

To learn more about about the Rocky Mountain Fire go to the Incident Information System (Inciweb) website at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4689/


TN - Appalachian Trail has re-opened from USFS 293 to Dennis Cove - Moreland Gap Shelter open

(4/25/16) The A.T. is now re-opened from USFS 293 to Dennis Cove. The wildfire that the USFS was dealing with, known as the "Railroad Grade" fire, is out. Hikers should remain situationally aware of potential threats along the Trail.  For more information about this wildfire, see InciWeb.


NC - Appalachian Trail closed from Hot Springs to Allen Gap 


(Updated 3:15pm, 4/29/16) No change. The A.T. remains closed from Hot Springs (approx. mile 273.7 from Springer) to Allen Gap (mile 288.4) due to the aftermath of the Silver Mine wildfire. The Pisgah National Forest has ​posted notices at Trailheads to advise hikers. The affected section of A.T. is forecast to remain closed through the weekend, until the Trail is safe for hikers. We will make updates as events unfold.


NC - Appalachian Trail has reopened from Wallace Gap to Winding Stair Gap

(4/21/16) Due to a wildfire, the 3.1 mile section of the A.T. from Wallace Gap (A.T. mileage 106.7) to Winding Stair Gap (A.T. mileage 109.8) in the Nantahala National Forest was closed.  It is now open.

Norovirus Alert & Prevention

Outbreaks of highly contagious norovirus (stomach bug) have occurred at various locations on the A.T. the last several years in a row, with the northbound thru-hiker "bubble" disproportionately affected.

Several hikers have come down with vomiting and diarrhea
in the Smokies area in the last few days.

Hygiene measures such as hand-washing, avoiding sharing of food, and prompt reporting are critical in helping prevent an outbreak or containing one should it occur. Please report date and location of any cases or outbreaks of vomiting and diarrhea on the A.T. or at  places used by A.T. hikers (e.g. hostels) to the local health department and ATC at [email protected].

For more information visit ​our Health and Safety Page. For a poster you can download, click this link: Prevent Norovirus 2016. (3/10/2016)


A.T. Weather Website

A new website www.atweather.org (not affiliated with the ATC) provides weather forecasts for shelters along the A.T.

 Although not absolutely precise in every shelter location, especially at higher elevations, it does provide National Weather Service forecast data that will​ often be more accurate than relying on forecasts in nearby towns, which can be dangerously misleading for A.T. hikers. Always be prepared for conditions that are colder, wetter, and windier than forecasts predict.


​trail updates by state

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Georgia

Bear canisters seasonally required for camping between Jarrard Gap and Neel Gap
(unknown date-present) A new U.S. Forest Service rule requires approved bear-resistant storage containers for overnight camping on a 5-mile stretch of the A.T. in the Chattahoochee National Forest between Jarrard Gap and Neel Gap, between March 1 and June 1 each year. This stretch is located between points 26.7 and 31.7 miles north of the southern terminus of the A.T. at Springer Moutain, Georgia, and includes Woods Hole Shelter, Slaughter Creek Campsite, and Blood Mountain Shelter. “Bear canisters” should be used to store food, food containers, garbage and toiletries. For more information, call the Chattahoochee - Oconee National Forest at (770) 297-3000.


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North Carolina

Rock Gap Shelter Open with a Caveat
(2/26/16) The Nantahala Hiking Club has made some temporary repairs to the Rock Gap Shelter (recall that it was closed due to the structural damage it sustained when a tree fell on it (2/25)). The shelter is now open but shouldn't be considered safe during a snowstorm.

Cold Spring Shelter Under Construction
(unknown date) The Cold Spring shelter, south of Wesser, NC, is closed while undergoing renovation by the Nantahala Hiking Club.

 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Davenport Gap (Tenn. 32/N.C. 284,eastern boundary of Great Smoky Mountains National Park) – Vehicle break-ins and car thefts
(1/3/16-present) Do not park overnight: This location has a history of vandalism with car thefts reported as recently as 1-3-16. Park at Big Creek Ranger Station in seasons when rangers are present.

For a full list of road and facility closures and warnings throughout the park, click here. Weather-related road and facility closures may change throughout the day. For updated road and weather information please call (865) 436-1200. Once you hear a voice, dial extension 631 for road information or extension 630 for a weather forecast.  Click here  for more information about bears in the backcountry.

Backcountry Permit Fees
(2/1/13-present) As of February, 2013, a backcountry permit must be obtained for overnight stays before entering the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and a $4 per person fee will be required for each night in the backcountry. Backcountry permits can be obtained up to 30 days in advance. Hikers who meet the definition of an Appalachian Trail thru-hiker (those who begin and end their hike at least 50 miles outside the park and only travel on the A.T. in the park) are eligible for a thru-hiker permit of $20 (valid for 38 days from the date issued for an up to 8 day hike through the Park). Permits are available at www.smokiespermits.nps.gov. You may also obtain a permit in person at the park’s Backcountry Office (at the Sugarlands Visitor Center near Gatlinburg, TN) or over the phone; with permits issued by fax, mail or email. Hikers staying overnight in the backcountry are required to have a printed copy of the permit.

For more information, visit www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/backcountry-camping.htm or call (865) 436-1297.

Shelters in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Bear activity and closures 
(unknown date-present) Bear activity has been reported at various shelters in the park. Hikers must use the food storage cables provided at all backcountry campsites in the park. Occasionally shelters are closed when bear activity becomes especially problematic.

North Carolina & Tennessee Border

See Wildfire Closures at top of Page. No other updates at this time.


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Tennessee

Watuaga Lake Shelter - Closed
(4/15/16) Watauga Lake Shelter closed to all entry due to bear activity.

No picnicking, lingering or overnight camping. Hiking the Appalachian Trail only. BEARS ACTIVE IN THIS AREA. Help us protect you and the bears. Please continue through the area without stopping. Closure Order: National Forest System lands Oliver Hollow Rd. to Wilbur Dam; closed until further notice.

TN - Appalachian Trail has re-opened from USFS 293 to Dennis Cove - Moreland Gap Shelter open

(4/25/16) The A.T. is now re-opened from USFS 293 to Dennis Cove. The wildfire that the USFS was dealing with, known as the "Railroad Grade" fire, is out. Hikers should remain situationally aware of potential threats along the Trail.  For more information about this wildfire, see InciWeb.

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Southwest Virginia

Straight Branch footbridge washed out - Detour in place
(unknown date) A section of the A.T. near Straight Branch and US-58 east of Damascus, VA, has been rerouted indefinitely due to the complete washout of the Straight Branch Footbridge during a high water event in May 2013. The reroute (detour) follows portions of the Beech Grove Trail and Virginia Creeper Trail. This detour is expected to be in place for the foreseeable future, as A.T. management partners plan for the construction of a replacement footbridge. For more information, contact Mount Rogers NRA at (276) 783-5196.


Mt. Rogers – Vehicle break-ins and thefts
(unknown date-present) The Trail between Damascus and VA Rt. 16 at Mt. Rogers NRA Headquarters has a long history of vehicle break-ins and thefts.


Central Virginia

No updates at this time.


Shenandoah National Park

See Wildfire Closures at top of Page


Skyline Drive Updates
(1/1/15-present) Skyline Drive is a 2-lane scenic highway following the ridgecrest and traversing the length of the Park. It roughly parallel and frequently crosses the Appalachian Trail. It is open year round; however, the Drive may be temporarily closed on short notice for indefinite periods due to weather related conditions. For the most current Skyline Drive status, call (540) 999-3500, choose Option 1, and then Option 1. Park staff also post opening and closing information on Facebook and Twitter. 


Park Facilities
(1/1/15-present) Click here for the Park's most updated facility schedule.  


Northern Virginia

Snickers Gap/Va. 7 area parking notice
(4/22/16) Hikers are cautioned against parking on the shoulders of VA 679 if the VA 679 parking lot is full - vehicles parked on either shoulder will be towed. Alternate parking is available nearby at the intersection of VA 7 and VA 601, where a rather large parking lot is located. If your car is towed, contact the Clarke County Communications Center at (540) 955-1234. 


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West Virginia

No updates at this time.


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Maryland Pen Mar

Pen Mar - Parking Pass Available
(10/6/14-present) An advance parking pass is now available for overnight parking at PenMar. It is not required, but is strongly recommended for those leaving their vehicle for more than a couple of nights. Here's how to get the pass: 

Click here to email Christine Casey  at the Washington County Parks and Facilities Dept. the following information:

  (1) the make and model of your vehicle
  (2) registered owners name
  (3) tag information
  (4) dates the vehicle will parked

You will receive a "do not tow" pass, as an attachment, that is to be printed and posted in your vehicle so local police will know that the vehicle has been registered. For more information, call (240) 313-2700 Tue-Fri. 6am - 4:30pm (reduced hours in winter and more information here.) 

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Pennsylvania

A.T. Midpoint (approx.) –Temporary Reroute Pending
(3/25/16-present) The A.T. north of Dead Woman’s Hollow Road may be rerouted this spring, as early as April 15, for short durations during mowing and prescribed fire operations. Hikers should observe signage and follow any re-routes as directed.

The PA Bureau of Forestry (PA BOF) in cooperation with ATC, PATC and the Western PA Conservancy, will conduct a 500+ acre project aimed at restoring a Scrub Oak/Pitch Pine Barrens ecosystem within the Big Pine Flats eco-region. The project is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2016 and will include approximately 2 miles of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (A.T.) and its associated corridor in Pennsylvania's Michaux State Forest near Dead Woman’s Hollow Road. This area is a critical reference site for pitch pine/scrub oak habitat. It will be treated using prescribed burning, a commercial timber sale, and mechanical mowing of the forest understory and some portion of the overstory tree layers.

For more info, contact: Roy Brubaker, District Forester, Michaux State Forest, (717) 352-2211

Pennsylvania Game Commission
(1/7/16-present) Fluorescent Orange Requirement Nov. 15 - Dec 15: On state game lands in Pennsylvania (much of the A.T. between the and Delaware Water Gap (roughly the northern 2/3 of the state), all hunters and non-hunters are required to wear at least 250 square inches of fluorescent orange material on the head, chest and back combined, or a fluorescent orange hat, from Nov. 15 to Dec. 15 (except on Sundays). The orange material must be visible from all angles (360 degrees). For more information about hunting ssafety along the A.T. visit www.appalachiantrail.org/hunting.  

Camping Regulations: Only thru-hikers (defined as those "walking the Appalachian Trail from point of beginning to an exit, which is not the place of beginning) may camp on Pennsylvania Game Commission lands, and these hikers must camp within 200 ft of A.T., at least 500 ft from a stream or spring.

Pine Grove Furnace State Park – Parking rules
(4/26/16) Pine Grove Furnace State Park requires that hikers check in with the park office before leaving a vehicle in the park and that vehicles be left for no more than one week. 

Caledonia State Park – Parking rules
(4/26/16) Caledonia State Park now requests that those parking overnight at the parking area on Rt. 30 register at the park office. For more information, contact the park at (717) 352-2161.  

Lehigh Gap to Little Gap – CAUTION - Remedial activities in progress
(4/9/15-present) Remedial activities associated with the revegetation of Blue Mountain are currently being conducted near the A.T. between Lehigh Gap and Little Gap as part of the Palmerton Zinc Pile Superfund Site. The Appalachian Trail and blue-blaze Winter Trail will remain open during these activities. Occasional truck traffic will occur on the administrative access road that parallels the A.T. Hikers are advised to stay on the A.T. and not use the road. 

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New Jersey

No updates at this time.


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New York

Harriman State Park Arden Valley Rd - Arden Valley Road Bridge
(12/22/15) The road bridge at the western end of Arden Valley Road, which also carries the A.T. over the NY Thruway, is currently closed for repair. The bridge was flagged by DOT for emergency repairs, which should take a few weeks. Foot traffic across it is currently allowed.

Until the repairs are complete, there is no access to the Elk Pen parking area and the western parts of Harriman Park near Arden Valley Road are only accessible on foot.


Bear Mountain – Relocation
(4/9/2015-present) Parts of a planned three-mile relocation of the A.T. over Bear Mountain have been opened to the public. Hikers should pay close attention to blazing in the area. Work on the remainder of this relocation and restoration of the old route and social trails in the area will continue. 


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Connecticut


Iron Bridge, Housatonic River - Closed to hikers; Temporary road reroute
(4/19/16) The Iron Bridge across the Housatonic River at Falls Village is now closed to motor vehicles and hikers for construction. Follow signs for the reroute--3 mile road walk on Dugway Rd, ugh. Approximate duration of reroute—six weeks or until construction is finished.  


Guinea Brook (just north of Conn. 4/Cornwall Bridge) – Stepping stones washed away
(unkown date) The rock stepping stones across Guinea Brook are no longer safe to use. Crossing Guinea Brook requires fording or utilizing the blue blazed bypass trail. Use the “high water bypass” or the Mohawk Trail, or continue S on RT 4 to the Breadloaf Mountain parking area and take the blue trail to rejoin AT. The bypass is strongly recommended during periods of high water or icing.

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Massachusetts

No updates at this time.


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Vermont

No updates at this time.


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New Hampshire

No updates at this time.


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Maine 

Access to Mt. Abraham - The Rapid Stream road damaged
(unknown date) It is being repaired only to the last house which is 3 miles short of the trailhead.


Kennebec Ferry Service
(4/21/16) The Kennebec River is the most formidable unbridged crossing along the entire A.T. Do not attempt to ford the river. Please use the ferry service. The schedule for the ferry is provided here


Baxter State Park 

(4/1/16) Appalachian Trail Long Distance Hiker Permit: A free A.T. long distance hiker permit will be required of all northbound long distance hikers who enter Baxter State Park in 2016. Southbound hikers are not required to have a permit, but must follow existing regulations. Permits can be obtained at Baxter State Park Headquarters and Katahdin Stream Campground, the Appalachian Trail Lodge in Millinocket, and from the A.T. Steward at Abol Bridge.

For more information, please visit the Baxter State Park webpage or refer to their announcement: http://www.baxterstateparkauthority.com/pdf/hiking/ATHikerRegistrationCardAnnounce_Final.pdf

Baxter State Park is the location of Katahdin, the mountain whose summit serves as the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. Katahdin is a mile-high mountain with spectacular views, extremely challenging terrain, and miles of exposed trail above treeline. Because of the difficulty of the climb to the summit, hikers are required to start their ascent by cut-off times that vary depending on the number of daylight hours available. Hikers staying overnight within the park boundary must camp at designated sites; reservations are ​necessary for overnight sites for all hikers except those who have arrived on foot walking more than 100 miles. (​Southbound thru-hikers should plan on making reservations for at least the night following their climb of Katahdin, and possibly the night before). All must pay a camping fee whether a reservation is obtained in advance or not. For more information about camping in the park and climbing Katahdin, visit www.baxterstateparkauthority.com and the Baxter State Park Facebook page.