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Trail Updates

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

trailwide updates

Fire Awareness

Wildfire Aware
(10/20/2016)  Due to uncharacteristically dry conditions in every region of the Appalachian Trail, please be diligent about putting out completely your campfire and heed localized fire restrictions.  Currently there is a campfire restriction in Georgia. Where campfires are permitted, make certain your campfire is completely dead—cold to the touch—before leaving.  If you don't have enough water to douse a fire completely, don't have a fire. Make reasonable choices.

To put a campfire out:

1) Carefully 'knock' the fire down with a stick (or metal trowel) until only small or no flames are present;
2) Mix the hot coals, underlying dirt, ash, and inorganic debris with the stick/trowel while steadily trickling water over it;
3) Place hand, palm down, over the mixture without touching it to test for heat. If it's still hot, repeat step 2 until it's no longer hot;
4) Once the mixture is no longer too hot to touch, continue to trickle water over it while carefully and methodically stirring the mixture with your hand, until it's cold to the touch. If you encounter hot spots, douse it with water.  If you used a stick to stir the mixture, make sure it's also cold!; 
5) Once completely out, use the remaining water to rinse your hand.

Under the current, extremely dry conditions, it's not uncommon for unattended, smoldering campfires to escape a fire ring, creeping  within the duff and root structure underground.  Small wildfires 'popped' in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Maine recently from just such a scenario.

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Seasonal/regional droughts—Dry water sources
(10/17/2016)  Regional droughts in the Southern, Mid-Atlantic, and New England regions are exacerbating normal seasonal droughts. Please treat water sources listed in your guidebook as 'seasonal' or 'intermittent' as dry. Bring extra water containers for these areas and top them off when water is available!

Dry water sources that are reported to the ATC will be updated, below, in their respective states—these probably account for a fraction of the water sources that may actually be dry due to the low frequency of reports. Local Trail Maintaining Clubs, Trail Registers (at the shelters), and Trailhead kiosks are additional places to look for current Trail conditions including water sources.

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Norovirus alert & prevention
(3/10/2016 - present) 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.

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

​trail updates by state



Campfire Restriction—Chattahoochee National Forest
(10/20/16) From the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests, "A campfire restriction is now in place for all of the Chattahoochee National Forest.The restriction prohibits building, maintaining, attending or using a fire or campfire outside of developed recreation areas from now until December 31, 2016. That means that only campfires built within metal fire rings in developed campsites are allowed. Camp stoves are still permissible. The Forest Service reminds visitors that campfires should always be put out completely and cold to the touch before being left for any period of time.

Extended hot, dry weather combined with dead and dry vegetation has caused extremely high wildfire danger in the northern forests of Georgia. Recent wildfire starts have fire managers concerned."

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.


North Carolina

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.

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 or equivalent structural duress.


Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Water source update
(10/21/16) Info on the status of water sources in the Smokies: 

Double Spring Gap shelter: DryDry
Pecks Corner shelter: Dry
Birch Spring Gap tentsites (113): Dry
Mollies Ridge Shelter: Dry
Spence Field Shelter: Dry Spring--follow Eagle Creek Trail down to a small creek for water
Russell Field Shelter: Dry

Shelters in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Bear activity and closures 
(9-09-16-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.

These shelters are currently closed: N/A

These shelters require caution due to bear activity:
Birch Spring Gap Campsite (113)

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 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 or call (865) 436-1297.

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.

North Carolina & Tennessee Border

Water source update
(10/17/16) Info on the status of water sources in NC/TN border: 

Hogback Ridge shelter: reported dry
Bradley Gap spring: reported dry
Yellow Mtn Gap/Overmountain shelter: reported dry

Appalachian Trail has re-opened from Hot Springs to Allen Gap 
(5/2/16) The A.T. is open from Hot Springs (approx. mile 273.7 from Springer) to Allen Gap (mile 288.4).  It was previously closed due to the aftermath of the Silver Mine wildfire.



Laurel Fork Shelter - Temporarily Closed
(10/04/2016) From the Tennessee Eastman Hiking and Canoeing Club, the “Laurel Fork Shelter continues to be temporarily closed because of the July 8th high wind storm. While the Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards (SAWS) removed the hazard tree in front of the shelter, there are two oak trees and a large locust tree still laying on roof…. Closure signs have been posted at the shelter trail junctions. Please do not plan to visit or even stay in its vicinity until the storm damage has been safely cleared.”
Watuaga Dam - Bears Active in Area
(5/17/16-present) Hikers should use caution near Watauga Dam as bears are active in this area; hikers should be alert for and keep a respectful distance from bear(s) with cubs.
Watuaga Lake Shelter - Closed
(4/15/16-present) 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. 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 open 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.


Southwest Virginia

Straight Branch footbridge washed out - Detour in place
(unknown date-present) 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

Humpback Rocks—Overnight camping restrictions lifted
(9/06/2016) The north end of the Blue Ridge Parkway experienced a number incidents of problem bear activity both at Parkway picnic areas and along the nearby Appalachian Trail. Due to the dangerous nature of these incidents, there ​was an overnight camping restriction in place between Humpback Gap (853.5 miles north of Springer Mt.) and Dripping Rock (847 miles north of Springer Mt.) in order to minimize food-related bear encounters in that area. This overnight camping restriction has been lifted.

Hikers are still advised to exercise caution when travelling in black bear country by not giving food to wildlife, storing food properly at night and being familiar with the proper techniques to use if they should encounter a bear in the backcountry.

The Humpback Rocks Picnic Area is now open to all use, including Appalachian Trail access.

Please report any unusual bear activity in the area to Ridge District Ranger Kurt Speers ([email protected]).

Thunder Hill Shelter reopened
(7/13/16) The Thunder Hill Shelter (located at mile 769.7 miles north of Springer Mtn) is now open.  It was closed on May 25th due to repeated problem bear activity.

Lambert's Meadow Shelter and Campground reopened--feature food storage vaults
(7/11/16) The Lambert's Meadow shelter and campground (located 718.1 miles north of Springer Mtn.) are now open for use.  They were closed on 5-11-16 due to problem bear activity, including a bear coming into the shelter and taking hikers' food bags. There are now bear resistant food storage vaults for hikers' overnight food storage--please use them :)

Shenandoah National Park

South district section of A.T. has reopened to dispersed camping
(7/25/16) Due to unusual bear activity, dispersed camping was prohibited on the A.T. between Brown's Gap (mile 885.1 from Springer Mtn.) and Loft Mountain Campground (mile 889.4) on (7/07/16).  Dispersed camping is once again allowed.  Designated huts and campgrounds, such as Loft Mountain Campground, were unaffected.

​Appalachian Trail in Shenandoah National Park has re-opened after Rocky Mtn Fire
(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

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

Water Source Update
(9/2/16) Water sources associated with the following locations are not reliable:

     Tom Floyd Wayside Shelter reported dry (966.2)
     Rod Hollow Shelter spring almost dry, expected to go dry soon. (992.7)

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. 


West Virginia

No updates at this time.



Crampton Gap shelter - Reported dry
(7/15/16)  The 'intermittent' spring located a tenth of a mile south on the A.T. from Crampton Gap shelter (1,033.5 miles north of Springer) has lived up to its reputation and is reported to be dry.  The closest water source (a faucet) is located a quarter mile south on the A.T. at Gathland State Park. Thank you Trail Patrol for this update! 

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. Be prepared to provide the following information:

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

You will receive a "Do Not Tow" pass as an attachment that must 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 Tuesday-Friday from 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (reduced hours ​during winter months).



Water source update
(9/28/16) Info on the status of water sources in PA: 

Quarry Gap Shelter: Dry

Pine Grove Furnace State Park—Ironmaster's Mansion August closures
(8/31/16) The Ironmaster's Mansion (hostel) will be closed the following dates: 9/16, 9/17, 9/18 , 9/30, 10/1, 10/21 & 10/22, 10/28 & 10/29. The hostel will be closing for the season on November 1st.

Port Clinton—Trailhead parking closure
(8/16/16) The parking lot at the corner of Blue Mountain Road and PA 61—on PA Game Commission property—is no longer available for access to the A.T. It is blocked and signed 'No Parking.' A nearby parking lot directly off PA 61 on Park Service Lands remains a viable option.

Boiling Springs—Allenberry Inn & Playhouse closed
(7/20/16) The sale of the Allenberry was finalized recently and has now stopped accepting all guests, including hikers.

A.T. Midpoint (approx.) –Temporary Reroute Pending
(7/20/16-present) The A.T. north of Dead Woman’s Hollow Road may be rerouted this spring, as early as August 1st, 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

Fox Gap
(4/27/16) The water source for the Kirkridge Shelter, a tap on a short side trail behind the shelter, has been turned on for the 2016 season.
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. 

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 Susquehanna River 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.  

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. 


New Jersey

Vernon - Rt. 517
(5/6/16) Hikers are urged to obey the No Parking signs on Rt. 517. Parking along 517 is very limited and cars parked in the No Parking zone have been ticketed recently.


New York

Harriman State Park – Fingerboard Shelter Temporary Closure
(8/23/2016) The Fingerboard Shelter is temporarily closed while it undergoes renovations. Tenting/hammocking is still available in the shelter area. Estimated date of completion for the renos is September 30th, 2016.

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. 



Water source update
(8/27/16) Info on the status of water sources in CT—thank you CT Ridgerunners! 

10 mile Pump: Good
Schaghticoke Mtn Campsite: NO flow, NO puddles
Thayer Brook: Good
Mt. Algo Shelter: NO Flow, NO puddles
Spring at River Rd (South gate): 2 streams with small flow, NO spring
Stewart Hollow: NO flow, NO puddles
Stony Brook Group: Flowing
River Rd. (North end) Spring: Flowing Well
Silver Hill Camp: Great source, long pump time 35-40 pumps needed to start water
Hatch Brook: Clear and flowing well
Caesar Brook: Clear and flowing well
Carse Brook: Non existent
Pine Swamp Shelter: Only pond remains, stream dry
Sharon Mtn Camp: NO Flow NO puddles
Belter’s Camp: Large clear pool present
Spring at Bottom of Prospect Mtn: Slow flow but clear
Limestone Shelter: Slow flow but clear
CT 41 Spring: Unknown
Riga Shelter: Dry
Ball Brook Camp: Good
Brassie Brook: Good

Iron Bridge, Housatonic River - Now open to hikers
(5/11/16) The Iron Bridge across the Housatonic River at Falls Village is now open to motor vehicles and hikers.  It was closed for construction.    

St. John's Ledges Parking Area is Closed
(​9/​2/16) The parking area at St. John's Ledges on River Road in Kent, CT is closed until further notice.



Water source update
(8/27/16) Info on the status of water sources in southern MA—thank you MA Ridgerunners! 

Sages Ravine: Good
Laurel Ridge: Good
Race Brook: Dry, small trickle .3 miles down trail from campsite
Hemlocks: Dry
Glen brook: Large puddle some trickle down rock



No updates at this time.


New Hampshire

Water source update
(10/12/16) Info on the status of water sources in NH: 

Moose Mountain Shelter: Dry



Baxter State Park—All Katahdin trails closed
(10/25/16) Katahdin is "in full winter conditions" with additional snow accumulations predicted over the next week. Therefore, the Hunt trail/A.T. (and all Katahdin trails) is now closed for the season.

Water source update
(​8/16/16) Water sources associated with the following landmarks have been reported dry

Long Pond Stream Lean-to (mile 2089.7) 
Chairback Gap Lean-to (mile 2100.6)

Appalachian Trail Visitor Center is open in Monson, ME
(6/20/16) Everyone is welcome. Long-distance hikers are able to pre-register for the Baxter State Park permit. Staff are available to help plan logistics for the 100 Mile Wilderness and Katahdin. Trail conditions posted daily. Community and day hike information also available.

Monday-Thursday 12-7pm, Friday-Saturday 12-8, Sunday 11-7
Open through October 16
located in the Monson Community Center
35 Greenville Road (across from Spring Creek Bar-B-Q)

Access to Mt. Abraham - The Rapid Stream road damaged
(unknown date-present) 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 - present) 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. Pre-registration for A.T. long distance hiker permits can be obtained at the A.T. Visitor Center in Monson, ME.

For more information, please visit the Baxter State Park webpage or refer to their announcement:

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 and the Baxter State Park Facebook page.