Plan and Prepare

Answering Questions About 2021 A.T. Hangtags and 2,000-Miler Recognition

January 21, 2021

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.

Hangtags distributed by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) are frequently seen dangling off an aspiring thru-hiker’s pack, marking their intent to traverse the entire Appalachian Trail (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.

What are A.T. hangtags?

  • The A.T. hangtags distributed by the ATC are plastic tags designed to hang from a hiker’s backpack. The front features the A.T. logo and the year of the attempted thru-hike; the back provides Leave No Trace information and a blank area where hikers can personalize them with a registration number, trail name, or whatever they choose. The hang tags are in the shape of an elliptical triangle, the same shape as the Appalachian National Scenic Trail logo.

Who creates the A.T. hangtags?

  • The ATC developed the A.T. hangtags in 2015 when they first started their voluntary thru-hiker registration (now known as ATCamp) and have issued them annually since then, through March 2020. Since March 2020, we have not issued hangtags, as we have advised aspiring thru-hikers to postpone or cancel their plans until the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) deems the COVID-19 pandemic under control.

What is the purpose of the hangtag?

  • In addition to providing a way for hikers to celebrate their thru-hike attempts, the primary purpose of the A.T. hangtag is to promote sustainable hiking practices aligned with Leave No Trace principles.

Who is eligible to receive an A.T. hangtag?

Anyone who has registered an A.T. thru-hike on ATCamp is eligible for a hangtag once distribution has been resumed. Section-hikers who have the goal of hiking the entire A.T. who have registered their hikes on ATCamp will also be eligible. Registering your hike is still important; understanding how many hikers will be on Trail in 2021 informs the ATC’s and Trail clubs’ management and maintenance priorities.

On May 11, 2021, the ATC announced that A.T. 2021 hangtags will be distributed again. The A.T. 2021 hangtags can be picked up at the following locations:

  • Amicalola Falls State Park, Dawsonville, Georgia (starting May 31)
  • ATC Headquarters and Visitor Center, Harpers Ferry, West Virginia (starting May 27, 2021).
  • A.T. Visitor Center, Monson, Maine (starting June 2, 2021).