Organizational Mission:

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

Primary Purpose

ATC Ridgerunners provide information about the A.T. and its intended primitive experience, 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. 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. during the day and camp at specific, high-use overnight sites throughout their patrol. Applicants should demonstrate the 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.

Ridgerunners working in Georgia will work a 12-week season beginning in early February. Ridgerunners working in Great Smoky Mountain National Park will work either a 15-week or 35-week season beginning in February.


Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Meet and greet the public and educate them about the A.T., ATC, local Trail Clubs, local land agencies and Leave No Trace practices.
  • Advise visitors on rules and regulations pertinent to the A.T.
  • Perform minor Trail maintenance and pick up litter on the Trail, at overnight sites, and at Trailhead parking areas.
  • Assist visitors; including assistance in emergency-response incidents.
  • Report unsafe conditions, misuse, and abuse of the A.T. and its overnight facilities.
  • Assist, as needed, local maintaining Clubs with privy maintenance.
  • Maintain a daily log, report to supervisors at the end of each work period and submit a written report to ATC at the end of each field session.
  • Maintain regular contact with field supervisors, Club volunteers, agency partners, and local officials.
  • Regularly traverse steep and uneven terrain in all weather conditions, travelling upwards of fifteen miles daily.



  • 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, especially in winter conditions
  • Knowledge of the Appalachian Trail and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy
  • Previous A.T. volunteer experience is a plus
  • Current First-Aid and CPR certification (Wilderness First-Aid certification is preferable) desirable, but training provided
  • Leave No Trace Trainer or Master Educator desirable, but training provided


Physical Demands and Work Environment

  • Frequently hiking long distances over rugged terrain in variable weather
  • Living and performing work in the backcountry for multiple days and overnights
  • Transport field equipment and backpack weighing ~30 pounds throughout workday
  • Long days in the field and weekend work, typically 40 hours per week
  • Possible exposure to ticks and pests, extreme weather, and hazards typical of a backcountry environment


Position Benefits

  •  $15 per hour minimum rate of pay
  • Seasonal housing available
  • Health insurance available
  • Cell phone stipend



Please submit an application with a resume, list of three references, and a cover letter.

Click here to apply through our ADP portal.

Deadline to apply is October 26th, 2021.


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, political affiliation, 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.

 Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Identity Statement