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.
Temporary Re-Route between Rt. 55 and Bulls Bridge Road
(10/5/2020) The A.T. is closed between Rt. 55 (mile 1459.2) and Bull’s Bridge Road (mile 1462.7) due to construction at the Ned Anderson Bridge. The Ten Mile Shelter and Campsites are closed.
Direction for the temporary re-route are as follows:
– West on Rt. 55 for 1.38 miles.
– North on Dogtail Corners Rd./Rt. 22 for 1.3 miles.
– East on Bulls Bridge Road for 0.8 miles.
– Proceed north on A.T. on Schaghticoke Rd.
– West on Bulls Bridge Road for 0.8 miles.
– South on Dogtail Corners Road/Rt. 22 for 1.3 miles.
– East on Rt. 55 for 1.38 miles. Proceed on A.T. on south side of Rt. 55
OR (shorter) proceed to A.T. beyond steel Gate.
Spy Rock Trail Not Recommended
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy has been notified that questions have arisen regarding the right of access over a portion of the side trail to the A.T. near Spy Rock in Nelson County. This trail leads from a public parking area on Fish Hatchery Road to the A.T. at northbound mile 825.4. This hiking trail is co-located with a road which travels through private property until the road/trail crosses onto National Forest System lands. Private landowners within the Spy Rock Subdivision have placed no trespassing signage along the road.
The public’s right of access via this historic access road passing through the Spy Rock Subdivision is unclear and is an open legal question at this time. The ATC recommends hikers avoid this trailhead and use an alternate route to Spy Rock.
Hikers wishing to use an alternate route to reach Spy Rock can use the following route:
1) From Route 56, take State Route (SR) 826- Meadows Lane for approximately 3.75 miles to its end point at the Crabtree Meadows parking area
2) From Crabtree Meadows parking area, hike back up SR 826 for ½ mile and turn left on Forest Service Road #596 – Cash Hollow. Follow Cash Hollow Road for ½ mile to the intersection with the Appalachian Trail (A.T.). Turn right on the A.T. (south on trail) and continue for 2.1 miles to the intersection with Spy Rock Trail, Forest Trail #732.
Maryland Shelter Advisory
(Updated 8/26/2020) All shelters on Maryland DNR lands (that’s all shelters on the A.T. in Maryland except the Ed Garvey Shelter) have re-opened.
Hikers are advised by Maryland DNR to sanitize themselves after use, or avoid the privies and follow Leave No Trace principles for this activity (dig a cathole 200 feet from water, campsites and the trail).
Dahlgren Bathhouse – Closed For Renovations
(8/31/2020) Beginning September 9 the Dahlgren Bathhouse at the Dahlgren Backpacker Campground (mile 1043.3) will be closed for renovations. It will be closed until next spring.
Town of Harpers Ferry – Strongly Encourages Face Coverings and Physical Distancing
The Town of Harpers Ferry strongly encourages face coverings and physical distancing. Be aware that streets and sidewalks are narrow and visitation has been exceptionally high in town and on popular trails.
More information is available at www.harpersferrywv.us
Toms Run Shelter and Overnight Site Closure, Michaux State Forest
(9/18/2020) — The entire Toms Run Shelter and overnight use area, located 3.7 miles south of Pine Grove Furnace State Park in Michaux State Forest at mile 1101.1, is closed to all use. The closure is in place for public safety purposes and to allow for tree removal work at the site. The Appalachian Trail footpath remains open for visitors hiking through the area. This closure will remain in place until the work is completed. Work is expected to be completed by the end of October, barring delays due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances.
Trail Conditions During COVID-19
Despite the Appalachian Trail’s reputation for being a well-maintained trail by an exceptionally dedicated corps of volunteers, there is no guarantee you will always find the A.T. in its normal well-maintained state these days. When it was clear that a global pandemic would change how volunteers could safety work on the Trail, they stopped working while new protocols were developed to navigate trail work in this time. Now, as some volunteering has resumed, it may mean that the condition of the Trail varies based on availability of volunteers and the local conditions that either allow or restrict volunteerism.
Some states have continued to experience a high incidence of COVID-19 infections, and when this occurs maintenance is likely to be suspended since many A.T. volunteers, a great number of whom are in high risk categories, have elected to heed the advice to stay local and stay safe. Additionally, for areas of the Trail that are very remote, there is either a small pool of volunteers because of the distance from populations centers, or volunteers are heeding guidance to not travel from areas of high infection rates to communities where the disease is not prevalent.
Other conditions may also impact volunteerism on A.T. right now. In the past, many volunteers worked in groups, carpooled, shared tools, but much of their approach to maintaining the Trail is altered during this pandemic as they manage their exposure to the virus. In some areas, use is at record levels and volunteers are unable to effectively social distance from hikers while doing their work.
While volunteers have been able to catch up on maintenance and maintain many sections to their normal high standards, hikers should be prepared for the possibility of encountering overgrown or otherwise unmaintained sections, especially in remote, officially designated wilderness areas. Briars, poison ivy, stinging nettles, ticks, snakes, or climbing over downed trees—as well as heat-related illness and lightning, especially during afternoon thunderstorms—are all some of the hazards hikers could expect this time of year. Be sure to take precautions for these and be prepared for the conditions you may encounter. Visit the health and safety pages of our website for tips on how to be prepared, in addition to our guidance for hikers during the pandemic at www.appalachiantrail.org/COVID-19.
We can assure you that A.T. volunteers are anxious to return to A.T. maintenance once they feel it is safe to do so. The A.T. is blessed to have so many people willing to help keep the A.T. in good shape. We do not take that for granted, have given them guidance on how to judge when it is safe for them to return to volunteer work, and respect their decisions as it relates to being cautious on when a return to work is right for them. If you’re interested in helping the Trail, please express your interest here. We’ll reach out when opportunities to give back to the Trail are available.
Baggs Creek Gap – Bear Activity
(8/5/2020) There are multiple reports of bears stealing hikers’ food from the unofficial Baggs Creek Gap campsite (mile 35.6) in the last two months. Hikers are advised to choose another location to camp, and always store food and smellables properly, using a bear-resistant canister or employing the PCT Method of hanging food. Please report all bear encounters. For more tips, information and Bear Encounter Report Form, see www.appalachiantrail.org/bears.
Port Clinton – Parking Closure
(8/3/2020) Due to increasing rail operations, the Reading Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad is no longer able to accommodate hiker parking or drop-off on their property, either at the station/office off Broad Street or near the ball field on South Street. Hikers are still welcome to cross their property while following the A.T., however are requested to use the lot on PA 61 or where legal in town. Hikers should note there are no public facilities at the railroad station/office.
South Pomfret – Post Office and Teago General Store Closed
(8/3/2020) The Teago General Store is closed for renovations and does not expect to be reopen for business before February 2021. The South Pomfret post office housed in the general store is also closed. The South Pomfret post office, currently operating out of the Woodstock office on Main Street in Woodstock, is planning to come back once the store reopens next spring.