Backcountry conditions change constantly. It is your responsibility to be prepared for the unexpected.
Report any adverse or dangerous Trail conditions you encounter by sending a detailed email to [email protected].
Click each update below for more information.
Great Smoky Mtns. NP – Shelter Closure Due to Bear Activity – Cosby Knob Shelter
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
(4/8/2021) The Cosby Knob Shelter (mile 231.1) in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is CLOSED due to bear activity and will remain closed until further notice. A bear destroyed a tent and obtained a hiker’s food at this shelter. Bears are active and hungry; take great care storing food.
Learn how to keep yourself and your food safe from bears on the Appalachian Trail on our Bear Safety page.
North Carolina – Bear Activity – Deep Gap/Groundhog Creek Shelter
(4/7/2021) There have been multiple reports of bear stealing food in the area of Deep Gap and Groundhog Creek Shelter (mile 248.7). Bear canisters are highly recommended for storage of food and other smellable items. For more information on keeping yourself, your food, and bears safe on the A.T., visit our page on Bears.
COVID-19 Guidance to A.T. Hikers
A.T. Trailwide Updates
Hikers are still advised to hike locally and avoid hikes that require resupply. Guidance on keeping yourself and others safe and reducing the spread of COVID-19 on the A.T. and in A.T. Communities can be found at appalachiantrail.org/COVID-19.
Shelter and Privy Closures due to COVID-19
A.T. Trailwide Updates
(Updated 2/25/2021) Many shelters and privies on the Appalachian National Scenic Trail are closed by land-managing agencies following the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), and local and state authorities to promote social distancing and sanitation standards to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Closing shelters prevent trail users from congregating in close proximity to one another and encourage proper social distancing recommendations. Overnight trail users are encouraged to use a tent, and tent usage is authorized in the area surrounding the shelters. Closing of privies will prevent trail users from entering confined spaces where disease spreads without proper sanitation, and will discourage visitors from using facilities that do not meet cleanliness standards. With privies closed, hikers should dig a cat hole more than 200 feet from water sources and camping areas. The use of tents instead of shelters, and cat-holes for human waste disposal, is a reasonable mitigation to help protect our visitors.
Where shelters are not officially closed, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy advises hikers to avoid all shelters during the pandemic for the reasons stated above. Privies that are not officially closed should also be avoided for reasons above and cat holes dug more than 200 feet from water sources and camping areas unless privies are being maintained and the local club and/or agency advises their use.
See individual state updates for detailed information on closures.
Trail Alert: Peters Mountain Closure Update (Central Virginia)
(Updated 4/16/2021) Crews from Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) and the Outdoor Club at Virginia Tech were escorted this week to the American Electric Power (AEP) tower reconstruction site on Peters Mountain on the Central Virginia/West Virginia border that was severely damaged by an ice storm in February. AEP crews have been working to make repairs to the damage and coordinating with ATC to re-establish the route of the A.T. in anticipation of reopening the 15.3 miles of the Appalachian Trail from VA641/Clendennin Road (NOBO Mile 641.4) to Pine Swamp Branch Shelter (NOBO Mile 656.7) that have been closed. AEP expects one or two more days of helicopter operations will be necessary before this section can be reopened. We ask hikers to continue to respect the closure as the situation still presents a serious safety risk. We thank everyone for their patience and we hope to be able to announce a re-opening within a couple of weeks.
(Updated 3/31/2021) An ice storm on Sunday, February 14 severely damaged multiple transmission towers on two separate lines that cross the A.T. on Peters Mountain, in Giles County, Virginia and Monroe County, West Virginia. The damaged towers create a significant safety risk to visitors and the Trail will remain closed from VA641/Clendennin Road (NOBO Mile 641.4) to Pine Swamp Branch Shelter (NOBO Mile 656.7) until the area can be made safe. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), National Park Service (NPS), and the US Forest Service are working closely with AEP and its contractors to reopen the Trail as soon as possible; however, due to the size of the damaged towers, their close proximity to the Trail and the remote location, a timetable for reopening is currently unavailable. ATC will work with partners in the area to minimize the effect on long-distance hikers. We will provide additional information as soon as it becomes available. For more information, visit the Georgia Washington-Jefferson National Forest Alerts Page.
Maine – Katahdin Closed and other Baxter State Park Updates
Lick Creek Bridge Washout
The A.T. footbridge over Lick Creek in Bland County (mile 563.8) has washed out. Lick Creek is 5.4 miles north of the A.T. trailhead at Virginia Highway 42 (O’Lystery picnic pavilion), and 1.4 miles south of the A.T. trailhead at VA-625 (Poor Valley). Hikers should be prepared to ford the creek, wait out high-water conditions, or backtrack if needed. Lick Creek is typically no more than knee-deep at the A.T. crossing, but may become deeper and more hazardous after a heavy rain. Hikers are encouraged to familiarize themselves with standard safety tips for fording creeks and rivers before hiking this section. A new bridge is not expected to be completed until sometime in 2023 at the earliest.
SW VA – Trail Update: Near Dickey Gap – Comers Creek
(Updated 4/8/2021) The Appalachian Trail (A.T.) footbridge over Comers Creek has been removed. Hikers need to be prepared to ford the creek. Comers Creek is typically easy to cross with the water being shin-deep, but could be knee to thigh-deep during or after heavy rain. If hikers want to avoid crossing the creek they should follow the Comers Creek High Water Route (following VA-650/Comers Creek Road, the Hurricane Campground Road, and Dickey Gap Trail) that has been signed and will be marked with blue blazes.
Directions for the blue-blazed High Water Route are below.
Starting at Dickey Gap A.T. trailhead, mile 520.1 (near the junction of VA 16 and VA 650/Comers Creek Road):
Turn RIGHT on gravel Comers Creek Road (VA 650), away from paved VA 16. Follow the gravel road for 1.5 miles to the paved road opposite Hurricane Campground. Turn LEFT on paved road opposite Hurricane Campground, and follow it for 0.3 miles. Look for the wooden signpost for the Dickey Gap Trail on your left. Turn LEFT onto Dickey Gap Trail and follow it 0.4 miles to where it ends at the A.T. junction. Turn RIGHT to continue southbound on the Appalachian Trail.
Starting at A.T. junction with Dickey Gap Trail, mile 518.1 (please note wooden signpost at the junction reads “Hurricane Campground 0.4 miles” but does not say “Dickey Gap Trail”; also, note some sources refer to this trail informally as the “Hurricane Campground Trail.”):
Turn LEFT on the Dickey Gap Trail. Follow Dickey Gap Trail 0.4 miles until it ends at the paved road opposite Hurricane Campground. Turn RIGHT on the paved road and follow it for 0.3 miles until it ends at Comers Creek Road/VA 650, which is a gravel road. Turn RIGHT on the gravel road and follow it for 1.5 miles until you reach the A.T. near the junction of VA 650 and paved VA 16. To continue northbound, rejoin the A.T. on the same side of the road as the parking lot and information kiosk.
Central Virginia – Ice Damage and Overhead Hazards
(4/2/2021) Trees along major portions of the Natural Bridge A.T. Club’s section of the A.T. have suffered significant damage due to an ice storm. This section runs from the south at Blackhorse Gap (mile 743.9) north to the Tye River (mile 834.5)
While the trail is mostly clear, there are numerous “widowmakers” still hanging in the trees. When tenting or at other extended stops, hikers should always take care to check the area for overhead hazards, but even more care should be taken now in the area of the ice damage.
Although a specific area of notable damage has been reported as noted above, overhead hazards may be present anywhere along forested areas of the A.T. and hikers should always look up and around for two tree lengths when tenting or taking breaks.
Georgia – Trail Closure – Amicalola Falls State Park
(Updated 3/30/2021) Due to damage to the Amicalola Falls Staircase caused by heavy storms in mid-late March, the Amicalola Falls Staircase, the West Ridge Trail, and the Approach Trail paralleling the falls have been temporarily closed. Repairs may take an extended period to complete. The East Ridge Trail and the bridge at the top of the falls remain open and may be used as an alternate route to the Approach Trail between the visitor center and top of the falls. The remaining portion of the Approach Trail to the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail on Springer Mountain (7.8 miles) remains open. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/AmicalolaFallsLodge or www.gastateparks.org/AmicalolaFalls and view a map of the park.