ATC Staff

#OptOutside 2020: Give Yourself Some Space

November 20, 2020

After one of the most stressful, unpredictable years in recent history, we don’t think we’re making news when we say that everyone could use a break.

We encourage you to join the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) and our partners at REI Co-op as we once again #OptOutside this year. Rather than adding to the frenzy of Black Friday, we will close our doors on Friday, November 27, so that staff can spend more time with family in the great outdoors.

Of course, this year comes with special challenges. In order to help minimize the spread of COVID-19, we ask that all Appalachian Trail (A.T.) hikers pledge to #RecreateResponsibly before they hit the Trail. Here are a few key tips to consider before finalizing your time in the great outdoors:

  • Know Before You Go: Check the status of the place you want to visit. Currently, almost all of the A.T. is open to hikers, but things could change quickly, and some locations have special restrictions. Visit for an up-to-date list of restrictions and closures.
  • Plan Ahead: Make sure you have everything you need to have a safe and enjoyable day outdoors. Visit our Hiker Resource Library for gear checklists, A.T. safety guidelines, and more essential information.
  • Explore Locally: Limit long-distance travel and make use of local parks, trails and public spaces. Be mindful of your impact on the communities you visit. You can use our interactive A.T. map to find the trailhead closest to you and help plan your trip.
  • Practice Physical Distancing: Keep your group size small. Bring a mask and be prepared to cover your nose and mouth and give others space. Bring soap and/or hand sanitizer. If you are sick, stay home.
  • Play It Safe: Slow down and select a section of the Trail that is suitable to your experience level. This will reduce your risk of injury or getting lost — search and rescue operations and health care resources are both strained.
  • Leave No Trace: Always leave the Trail in better shape than you found it and be respectful in any communities you might visit. Visit our Leave No Trace page for more information.
  • Build an Inclusive Outdoors: Be an active part of making the outdoors safe and welcoming for all identities and abilities.

For more information about A.T. conditions and ways to plan your visit, check out our Hiker Resource Library. For more tips on planning a safe adventure when you #OptOutside, visit

We thank you for taking these crucial extra steps to keep yourself, other hikers, and Trailside communities safe. Please support and protect the A.T. and the greater Trail community by educating and preparing yourself before your A.T. journeys.

Happy Trails,

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy Team