Organizational Mission

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s mission is to protect, manage, and advocate for the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.

Primary Purpose

A.T. Ridgerunners and Caretakers provide information about the A.T. and its intended primitive experience, its location, regulations, and traditions. They work to encourage the best behavior on the part of hikers, to facilitate a positive Trail experience (particularly for those who are poorly prepared), and to elicit the support of those who live nearby, but who may not understand or use the Trail properly. They discourage and mitigate misuse of the Appalachian Trail and its environs by performing educational and public-relations functions. Ridgerunners are assigned to hike specific sections of the A.T., while Caretakers remain at specific overnight sites. Some positions combine elements of both. They must be able to work both independently with minimal supervision and cooperatively as a member of a team. Applicants should demonstrate an interest and ability to contribute to the public-service effort of working on a national scenic trail and to promote volunteerism and membership in ATC and its club affiliates. They should possess the required skills listed below and be able to attend required training. Applicants must demonstrate maturity, responsibility, initiative, and self-motivation.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Meet and greet the public and educate them about the A.T., ATC, local Trail clubs, local land-owning agencies, and Leave No Trace hiking/camping methods.
  • Advise visitors and hikers of rules on the A.T. and of NPS, USFS, state, and local regulations.
  •  Perform light trail maintenance and pick up litter on the Trail, and at camp/shelter sites and Trailhead parking areas.
  • Assist visitors and hikers whenever possible; assist emergency-response agencies when requested.
  •  Report unsafe conditions, misuse, and abuse of the A.T. and its shelters (including vandalism, vagrancy, forest fires, beer and liquor parties, drug use, suspicious persons, vehicles, unauthorized hunting, tree cutting, etc.)
  • Assist local maintaining clubs with their backcountry sanitation projects. Maintain privies at A.T. shelters in satisfactory condition.
  • Maintain a daily log, submit a report to supervisors at the end of each work period, and submit a written report to ATC at the end of the season detailing highlights, problems, etc.
  • Maintain regular contact with field supervisors, club volunteer,s and agency partners.

Required Skills

  • Commitment to Trail- and resource-protection efforts.
  • Proven ability to work alone with minimal supervision.
  • Excellent communication and education skills.
  • Ability to interact with the public under stressful conditions.
  • Extensive backpacking experience.

Desired Skills

  • Knowledge of Leave No Trace principles.
    * Some positions provide Leave No Trace training.
  • Previous A.T. volunteer experience.
  • Knowledge of the Appalachian Trail and the ATC.
  • Current first-aid and CPR certification (Wilderness First-Aid certification is preferable).
    *Some positions provide WFA training.

The Ridgerunner Hiring Process

Each year ATC and its affiliated partners recruit highly qualified A.T. Ridgerunners and Caretakers. These positions may be employed by ATC, or by one of its affiliated Trail clubs or agency partners. All positions are seasonal and vary in length. Wages vary according to positions and individual qualifications. Please note: COVID-19 vaccination will be required for this position as a condition of employment. Medical and religious exemptions may apply.

To Apply

To express interest in affiliate partner ridgerunner/caretaker positions, please complete this form.
*This information will be sent to the hiring manager for each position.

The 2023 Affiliate Positions include:

Shenandoah National Park: Two Ridgerunners, together provide coverage from late April through October with overlap during summer peak visitation, housing available, transportation stipend available.

One Ridgerunner/Caretaker: early April through late October, housing available, no pets allowed, transportation stipend available
One Ridgerunner/Caretaker: mid-May through Labor Day, housing available, no pets allowed, transportation stipend available.

Michaux State Forest: One Ridgerunner, mid-May through Labor Day, transportation stipend available.
Northeast Pennsylvania: One Ridgerunner, mid-May through Labor Day, transportation stipend available.

New Jersey:
Three Ridgerunners/Caretakers: mid-May through Labor Day, one position available through late October, housing available, transportation stipend available.

Connecticut-Southern Massachusetts:

Please contact the Appalachian Mountain Club for information about Ridgerunner positions in Connecticut and Massachusetts.


Please contact the GreenMountain Club for information about Ridgerunner and Caretaker positions in Vermont.


One Ridgerunner in each of the following locations: Saddleback Mountain, Bigelow Mountain, and Gulf Hagas; from May 21 – October 16. Housing assistance is available. No pets allowed.

Trail Crew Leader & Assistant Crew Leader, Trail Crew Coordinator, & Crew Member positions are available. Please use this link to apply:

ATC Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) encourages collaboration, flexibility, and fairness with all employees and volunteers to enable participation and contributions to their fullest potential.

We are committed to being a diverse and inclusive organization and recognize that diversity contributes to an effective and successful organizational culture and mission.

The ATC prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and/or expression), national origin, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, political affiliation, union membership, or any other status protected by the laws and regulations in the locations where we operate.

Click here to view the Appalachian Trail Conservancy Identity Statement