Trail Update

A.T. Shelters Reopen on U.S. Forest Service Lands

April 21, 2021

Earlier today, all Appalachian Trail (A.T.) shelters located in the Chattahoochee-Oconee, Nantahala, Pisgah, Cherokee, and George Washington-Jefferson National Forests in Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia were re-opened by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). These shelters were previously closed by USFS to assist in preventing the spread of COVID-19 among visitors, as it can be difficult to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) social distancing guidelines in these small spaces.

“Hikers are encouraged to recreate responsibly, maintain a safe social distance and follow health guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local health authorities,” USFS said in a press release announcing the reopening.

Because social distancing may not be possible in shelters, hikers are advised to be self-reliant and use a personal shelter. See our tips for camping on the A.T. during the pandemic here:

A.T. hikers should also be prepared with a mask whenever social distancing is not possible. For more information, visit

Currently, more than 70 shelters remain closed along the A.T. For more information on these closures, other COVID-19 A.T. restrictions and guidelines for hiking safely during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit

See below for the full U.S. Forest Service news release.

Click the image below to open a PDF version of the announcement.