Responding to COVID-19

A.T. COVID-19 Restrictions

 

UPDATE: July 27, 2021

In light of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance issued on July 27, 2021 regarding breakthrough infections in vaccinated individuals, the rise of coronavirus infections across the United States, and to protect vulnerable community members, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) is requiring masks to be worn inside all of its visitor centers regardless of vaccination status. The sites include the Monson Visitor Center, Boiling Springs Visitor Center, Harpers Ferry Visitor Center and Damascus Trail Center.

UPDATE: May 11, 2021

With a widely available and distributed COVID-19 vaccine in the United States and the latest information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the ATC has updated its guidance for long-distance hiking and visitor centers. Long-distance hiking on the A.T. is now considered to be a safer activity, especially for those who have received one of the approved COVID-19 vaccines. The ATC 2,000-Miler Recognition Program has resumed, and A.T. 2021 hangtags will be distributed when designated A.T. visitor centers reopen. Some COVID-19 safety recommendations are still in place. For more information, visit appalachiantrail.org/covid-19.

Federal and State Lands

Some federal and state lands through which the A.T. passes have shelter closures due to COVID-19. The situation remains fluid and individuals should be aware of what closures are in effect before starting their hike. The ATC asks hikers to respect trail-related closures and observe required or recommended travel restrictions in A.T. states to halt the spread of this highly contagious virus.

To view ATC’s guidance on how and when to visit the Trail and on hiking safely, visit our COVID-19 page.

Shelter Advisory

More than 55 A.T. shelters are closed by the overseeing land-managing agencies due to the difficulty of social distancing. Whether officially open or closed, hikers are advised to avoid shelters and bring their own personal shelter and food storage device.

Note: Camping is generally allowed around closed shelters unless posted otherwise, except at the Wise Shelter in Grayson Highlands State Park, Virginia.

While we will update this page as able, the status of closures and restrictions may change quickly. We encourage everyone to contact land-managing agencies directly to verify the status.

For more comprehensive Trail updates beyond COVID-19-related closures, see our Trail Updates page.

Closures & Restrictions (9.13.2021)

Trail-Wide

Travel Guidelines

See individual state information below for additional details. For more information about COVID-related recommendations from the National Park Service, please click here.


Business Closures

The status of businesses and the services they offer during the COVID-19 pandemic is quite fluid. A list of known changes can be found at A.T. Thru-Hikers’ Companion Updates page; businesses may also submit changes there. We also advise all hikers to directly contact businesses for their schedules and services to confirm the latest information.


Agency Closures

Shelters Located on National Park Service A.T. (APPA) Lands are Closed

All overnight shelters (55 total) located on National Park Service A.T. (APPA) on land administered by the Appalachian National Scenic Trail Park Office in the states of VA (11 shelters in northern Virginia), MD (1 shelter), PA (8 shelters), NJ (1 shelter), NY (5 shelters), CT (7 shelters), MA (1 shelter), and ME (22 shelters). Click here for more information.

Georgia

COVID-19 Guidelines For The State of Georgia

Agency Closures For A.T. Lands

Chattahoochee National Forest

A.T. shelters on the A.T. in Georgia have re-opened, however, be sure to check the Trail Updates page for other closures related to other issues such as bears. Because social distancing may not be possible in a shelters, hikers are advised to be self-reliant and use a personal shelter. For more tips, see our guidance on camping on the A.T. during the pandemic.

North Carolina

COVID-19 Guidelines For The State of North Carolina

Agency Closures For A.T. Lands

Pisgah and Nantahala Nationals Forest Closures

All A.T. shelters on U.S. Forest Service lands in North Carolina have re-opened, however, be sure to check the Trail Updates page for other closures related to other issues such as bears. Because social distancing may not be possible in a shelters, hikers are advised to be self-reliant and use a personal shelter. For more tips, see our guidance on camping on the A.T. during the pandemic.


“Fontana Hilton” Shelter and other TVA facilities remains closed

The Fontana Hilton Shelter and Visitor Center remain closed. Please click here for more information.

Tennessee

COVID-19 Guidelines For The State of Tennessee

Agency Closures For A.T. Lands

Cherokee National Forest Closures

All A.T. shelters have re-opened, however, be sure to check the Trail Updates page for other closures related to other issues such as bears. Because social distancing may not be possible in a shelters, hikers are advised to be self-reliant and use a personal shelter. For more tips, see our guidance on camping on the A.T. during the pandemic.

Virginia

COVID-19 Guidelines For The State Of Virginia

Agency Closures For A.T. Lands

George Washington-Jefferson National Forest Shelters Re-Opened

A.T. shelters on the A.T. in the George Washington-Jefferson National Forest have re-opened, however, be sure to check the Trail Updates page for other closures related to other issues such as bears. Because social distancing may not be possible in a shelters, hikers are advised to be self-reliant and use a personal shelter. For more tips, see our guidance on camping on the A.T. during the pandemic.


Shelter Closure on Appalachian National Scenic Trail Park Office (APPA) Lands

(Confirmed 5/18/2021) The National Park Service has closed all overnight shelters (56 total) on land administered by the Appalachian National Scenic Trail Park Office including the following shelters in Virginia:

Central Virginia – Johns Spring, Catawba Mountain, Campbell

Shenandoah National Park area – Calf Mountain

Northern Virginia – Tom Floyd Wayside, Jim and Molly Denton, Whiskey Hollow, Rod Hollow, Sam Moore, and David Lesser Memorial.

Follow this link for further details.


Paul C. Wolfe Shelter Closed

The Paul C. Wolfe Shelter, on Blue Ridge Parkway lands, is closed. Backcountry campers are encouraged to maintain social distance. Click here for more information.


A. T.  Shelter in the Town Of Glasgow is Closed

Closed until further notice.


Spy Rock Trail Head – CLOSED

In alignment with current federal, state and local guidance for social distancing and to ensure health safety of its employees, visitors and volunteers, the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests will temporarily shut down the Spy Rock trail head effective April 9, 2020. For more information, visit the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests website.


Virginia State Parks Closures

Virginia State Parks visitor centers, indoor facilities, overnight facilities, and group facilities are closed on a case-by-case basis. Click here for more information.


Grayson Highlands State Park – Overnight Parking

Backpackers using the overnight parking site must make reservations ahead of time. Please visit the Grayson Highland’s website here for contact information on how to make a reservation.

West Virginia

COVID-19 Guidelines For The State Of West Virginia

Agency Closures For A.T. Lands

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park Closures

To learn the latest status of closures affecting parking, park programs, facilities, and services,  visit this link. 


Harpers Ferry Visitor Center

Harpers Ferry Visitor Center has modified operations and COVID-19 safety protocols.

  • The Visitor Center will be open Thursday-Monday from 9 a.m – 5 p.m. and closed Tuesday-Wednesday, and on major holidays.
  • The Visitor Center restroom and water filling station will be available for visitors.
  • Most areas in the Visitor Center will be temporarily closed for renovations. We hope to have a timeline for reopening these sections in the near future.
  • All guests are required to wear a CDC-approved face covering while inside the Visitor Center. Masks are not required while outside the center, though we encourage continued social distancing.
  • An outdoor information table will also be staffed during normal business hours.
  • A.T. halfway point photos will resume as normal. Please speak with a staff member or volunteer to arrange for your photo to be taken.
  • A.T. hangtags are now available. Attempting A.T. thru-hikers and section hikers can receive an A.T. hangtag by participating in a short Leave No Trace Presentation.
  • In-store purchases will not be available until further notice. ATC merchandise can be purchased directly at atctrailstore.org. Official ATC maps, guides, and other publications can be purchased through our partners at Mountaineers Books.
  • Until further notice, we ask that all hiker mail drops be forwarded to the Harpers Ferry Post Office.
  • Free one-hour parking is available behind the Visitor Center. Additional metered street parking is available nearby.

We thank everyone for their patience and understanding as we determine the best Visitor Center operations as appropriate for the changing COVID-19 pandemic. We will provide more information as it becomes available.

Maryland

COVID-19 Travel Guidelines For The State Of Maryland:

As of May 14, 2021, the state lifted its mask mandate with the exception of public transportation and health care settings, according to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. Masks are still strongly encouraged for those who are not fully vaccinated. Businesses may still set their own policies for mask requirements. For more information, please check the Maryland Health Department website.

Agency Closures For A.T. Lands

Maryland State Parks

A full list of facility openings and closures can be found here.


Shelter Closure on Appalachian National Scenic Trail Park Office (APPA) Lands

(Confirmed 5/4/2021) The National Park Service has closed all overnight shelters (55 total) on land administered by the Appalachian National Scenic Trail Park Office including the following shelters in Maryland:
Ed Garvey Shelter.
Follow this link for further details.

Pennsylvania

COVID-19 Travel Guidelines For The State Of Pennsylvania

As of March 1, 2021 the Order of the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health for Mitigation Relating To Travel is no longer in effect. Travelers should still practice appropriate public health measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 such as masking, physical distancing, and hand hygiene. More information can be found at the State of Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 Information for Travelers page.

Agency Closures For A.T. Lands

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area – Closed Areas

Many public facilities within Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, including some restrooms, are temporarily closed. Find more details here.

Shelter Closure on Appalachian National Scenic Trail Park Office (APPA) Lands

(Updated 5/4/2021) The National Park Service has closed all overnight shelters (55 total) on land administered by the Appalachian National Scenic Trail Park Office including the following shelters in Pennsylvania:
Alec Kennedy Shelter
Clarks Ferry Shelter
Peters Mountain Shelter
William Penn Shelter
501 Shelter
Windsor Furnace Shelter
Eckville Shelter
George W. Outerbridge Shelter

Follow this link for further details.

A.T. Shelters on Pennsylvania DCNR Lands Closed Until Further Notice

The following overnight A.T. shelters on Pennsylvania DCNR Bureau of Forestry lands are closed until further notice: Deer Lick Shelter, Tumbling Run Shelter, Rocky Mountain Shelter, Quarry Gap Shelter, Birch Run Shelter, Toms Run Shelter, James Fry at Tagg Run, Eagles Nest Shelter,  Leroy Smith Shelter, Kirkridge Shelter*. Click here for more information.

Hamburg Borough Watershed – Open for Day Use

The Hamburg Reservoir parking lot & public access to the Appalachian Trail are open to the public daily from dawn to dusk. No overnight parking will be permitted until further notice.

DCNR, State Parks, and Forests Facility Closures

State Park and Forest Facilities are closed on a case-by-case basic. Public programs, events, and trainings are canceled. Visit the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources website for details on closures and available facilities.

New Jersey

COVID-19 Travel Guidelines For The State Of New Jersey

The state removed its travel advisory as of May 17, 2021, according to New Jersey’s COVID Information Hub. For more information about the travel guidelines, visit the State of New Jersey Travel Guidance page.

Agency Closures For A.T. Lands

Shelter Closure on Appalachian National Scenic Trail Park Office (APPA) Lands

(Updated 5/4/2021) The National Park Service has closed all overnight shelters (55 total) on land administered by the Appalachian National Scenic Trail Park Office including the following shelters in New Jersey:

Pochuck Mountain Shelter.

Follow this link for further details.

New York

COVID-19 Travel Guidelines For The State Of New York

Asymptomatic travelers entering New York from another country, U.S. state, or territory are no longer required to test or quarantine as of April 10, 2021. Quarantine, consistent with the CDC recommendations, is still recommended for all travelers who are not fully vaccinated or have not recovered from laboratory confirmed COVID-19 during the previous 3 months. Symptomatic travelers must immediately self-isolate and contact the local health department or their healthcare providers to determine if they should seek COVID-19 testing. International travelers must comply with CDC requirements. More information is available at coronavirus.health.ny.gov/covid-19-travel-advisory.

Agency Closures For A.T. Lands

Shelter Closure on Appalachian National Scenic Trail Park Office (APPA) Lands

(Updated 5/4/2021) The National Park Service has closed all overnight shelters (55 total) on land administered by the Appalachian National Scenic Trail Park Office including the following shelters in New York:
Wildcat
RPH
Morgan Stewart
Telephone Pioneers
Wiley

Follow this link for further details.

Harriman State Park and Bear Mountain State Park Closures

Some roads, and facilities in Harriman State Park and Bear Mountain are closed. For details, please visit the Bear Mountain State Park site and Harriman State Park site respectively.

Connecticut

COVID-19 Travel Guidelines For The State Of Connecticut

Connecticut residents and travelers to Connecticut should follow travel-related guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH). Mandates and requirements are not currently in place in Connecticut. Review guidelines for vaccinated and unvaccinated persons. For more information, visit www.portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus/Travel.

Agency Closures For A.T. Lands

Connecticut State Parks and Forests Closures

All A.T. Shelters are currently closed until further notice (per this National Park Service closure order). All Privies are closed. Campsites on National Park Service lands are open.

Shelter Closure on Appalachian National Scenic Trail Park Office (APPA) Lands

(Updated 5/4/2021) The National Park Service has closed all overnight shelters (55 total) and privies (75 total) on land administered by the Appalachian National Scenic Trail Park Office including the following shelters in Connecticut:
Ten Mile River
Mt. Algo
Stewart Hollow Brook
Pine Swamp Brook
Limestone Spring
Riga
Brassie Brook

Follow this link for further details.

Massachusetts

COVID-19 Travel Guidelines For The State Of Massachusetts

All travelers are encouraged to consult and follow the CDC’s guidelines and requirements for travel.
For more information, visit www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-travel-advisory.

Agency Closures For A.T. Lands

Massachusetts COVID-19 Camping Restrictions Lifted on State Lands

On May 29, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) is scheduled to lift all COVID-19 restrictions currently in place for camping on state lands along the A.T. — all camping and shelter use was previously prohibited on the A.T. in Massachusetts on DCR lands.

 

Upper Goose Pond Cabin

Due to an increase of COVID-19 cases in Berkshire County, APPA will no longer permit any visitors inside Upper Goose Pond Cabin. Only the caretakers are permitted inside. All other facilities and amenities continue to be available. Visitors can tent at designated sites, use picnic tables and privies, swim and enjoy surrounding area. Signs indicating this restriction are posted at the junction of the blue blaze access trail. All guests should check in with the caretaker on arrival.

For more information, visit our our Massachusetts Trail Updates page.

 

Shelter Closure on Appalachian National Scenic Trail Park Office (APPA) Lands

(Updated 5/4/2021) The National Park Service has closed all overnight shelters (55 total) on land administered by the Appalachian National Scenic Trail Park Office including the following shelter in Massachusetts.

Vermont

COVID-19 Travel Guidelines For The State Of Vermont

On April 6, 2021, the state of Vermont release a phased reopening plan called Vermont Forward. Masks are still encouraged for those who are not vaccinated. For more information, visit healthvermont.gov/covid-19/travel-quarantine/visitors-vermont.

New Hampshire

COVID-19 Travel Guidelines For The State Of New Hampshire

On May 19, 2021, the state of New Hampshire updated its COVID travel guidance. For more information, please review the document compiled by the New Hampshire Division of Public Health Services.

Maine

COVID-19 Travel Guidelines For The State Of Maine

For more information, visit the State of Maine’s COVID-19 Travel Information page.

Agency Closures For A.T. Lands

Shelter Closure on Appalachian National Scenic Trail Park Office (APPA) Lands

(Updated 5/4/2021) The National Park Service has closed all overnight shelters (55 total) on land administered by the Appalachian National Scenic Trail Park Office including the following shelters in Maine:
Frye Notch
Hall Mtn.
Bemis Mtn.
Piazza Rock
Poplar Ridge
Spaulding Mtn.
West Carry Pond
Pierce Pond
Pleasant Pond
Bald Mtn.
Moxie Bald
Horseshoe Canyon
Leeman Brook
Wilson Valley
Chairback Gap
Carl A. Newhall
Logan Brook
East Branch (Pleasant River)
Cooper Brook Falls
Potaywadjo Spring
Nahmakanta Stream
Wadleigh Stream

Follow this link for further details.

The state of Maine – Overnight Shelters on State Lands

Visit www.maine.gov/dacf/covid19/parks/  for the latest information, including requirements for a Certificate of Compliance.