January 22, 2021

Trailway News: Strong Steps Into 2021

It’s a new year, and while wintry days are still ahead of us, things are already picking up on the Appalachian Trail. With lots of news to share this year, we’ve updated our newsletter format to highlight many stories at once and minimize the number of emails you receive!

We’re calling it Trailway News, a tribute to our long-running magazine. Through Trailway News, we will deliver a collection of the most important A.T. updates straight to your inbox each week.

Photo by Sabrina Wright

Be Ready for 2021’s Challenges

Having a safe and successful A.T. hike takes planning and preparation even in the best circumstances. With the COVID-19 pandemic ongoing, it is essential to take extra steps to ensure you, your fellow hikers, and the Trailside communities you might visit stay safe and healthy.

The ATC recommends hikers postpone any long-distance A.T. travel until the pandemic is deemed “under control” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), or a COVID-19 vaccine or effective treatment is widely available and distributed. This will minimize the chances of spreading this highly contagious virus, both on the Trail and beyond. For hikes of any distance, make sure to do the following:


Know Before You Go

Planning and preparation are required to ensure you have a safe and successful hike on the A.T. Check out our Hiker Resource Library and make sure you have everything you need, from essential gear to necessary skills.



Review Our Overnight Backpacking Checklist

Have everything you need for a safe, enjoyable overnight A.T. trip? Use our comprehensive checklist to make sure you’re prepared for Trail conditions — now updated with COVID-19 prevention in mind.



Register Your Hike on ATCamp

Registering your A.T. thru-hike or overnight hike on ATCamp lets you pick a starting date and campsites with fewer hikers, which can help maintain social distancing and reduce your impact on the A.T.’s resources.


Where the Trail Began

Almost 100 years ago, Benton MacKaye published an article that would forever change the way people think about trails. This October, we celebrate a century of inspiration from MacKaye’s “An Appalachian Trail: A Project in Regional Planning,” which continues to inform and guide the ATC’s work as it pursues greater protection for the A.T. and its one-of-a-kind experience.

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An Update on 2021 A.T. Hangtags

Hangtags distributed by the ATC are frequently seen dangling off an aspiring thru-hiker’s pack, marking their intent to traverse the entire A.T. Like many things over the past year, the ATC’s hangtag distribution plan has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, we want to address some frequent questions about our 2021 hangtags.


Community Spotlight

Want to be featured in our community spotlight? Follow us on Instagram at @appalachiantrail and use #atcspotlight in your post!

Happy Trails!

Please donate today to ensure the A.T. we all love benefits us today, tomorrow, and for generations to come.


Lead image courtesy of Addie Suter