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.
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.
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.
Travel Recommendations for Pennsylvania
People who are planning on traveling to Pennsylvania or visiting Pennsylvania from one of the states listed here are recommended to quarantine for 14 days to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Visitors are asked to stay in their quarantine location for the full 14 days prior to interacting with anyone outside their travel group or household. For more information, visit the Pennsylvania Travel Recommendations Frequently Asked Questions.
Kirkridge Shelter – Water Now Available
(7/22/2020) The water tap for the Kirkridge Shelter (on Kirkridge Retreat Center property) has been turned back on.
Shelter and privy closure affecting 56 shelters from Virginia through Maine
(3/28/20) Effective immediately, the National Park Service is closing all overnight shelters (56 total) and privies (75 total) on land administered by the Appalachian National Scenic Trail Park Office in the states of VA (11 shelters, 12 privies), MD (1 shelter, 2 privies), PA (8 shelters, 6 privies), NJ (1 shelter, 1 privy), NY (5 shelters, 5 privies), CT (7 shelters, 16 privies), MA (1 shelter, 4 privies), and ME (22 shelters, 29 privies). Follow this link for further details.
Most A.T. privies are maintained by volunteers on an infrequent schedule. However, the privies at overnight campsites overseen by on-site AMC caretakers are cleaned on a daily basis, leading to a lower risk of spreading COVID-19. Additionally, many of these AMC overnight sites are located in areas where digging a cathole can be ineffective.
Hamburg Reservoir Watershed Lands – Closed to Overnight Use and Overnight Parking
(6/8/2020) The Borough of Hamburg has re-opened approximately 10 miles of the A.T. on Hamburg Reservoir Watershed Lands to day use only.
The Hamburg Reservoir parking lot and public access to A.T. are open to public daily from dawn to dusk. No overnight parking will be permitted until further notice. Click here for more information.
This affects the A.T. from about 2.0 miles north of Port Clinton to approximately 2.5 miles south of Hawk Mountain Road and includes Pulpit Rock vista and The Pinnacle vista.
Shelters on Pennsylvania DCNR Lands CLOSED
(Updated 3/23/2020) The following overnight A.T. shelters on Pennsylvania DCNR Bureau of Forestry lands are closed:
– Deer Lick (mile 1071.7)
– Tumbling Run (mile 1075.3)
– Rocky Mountain (108.9)
– Quarry Gap (mile 1087.5)
– Birch Run (mile 1094.9)
– Toms Run (mile 1101.1)
– James Fry at Tagg Run (mile 1112.0)
– Eagles Nest (mile 1211.2)
– Leroy Smith (mile 1275.9)
– Kirkridge (mile 1289.6)
Primitive backpack camping (tenting) is still permitted in accordance with the state forest rules and regulations; however, all trail shelters on these lands are closed. Social distancing is encouraged.
Pine Grove Furnace State Park – Temporary A.T. – Reroute Nearby
(3/17/2020) There will be temporary reroute of the A.T. approximately 2 miles in length south of Pine Grove Furnace State Park, PA. The reroute will occur sometime between 3/16 – 3/20/2020 and will last approximately 1 to 2 weeks. The Trail will be rerouted onto a section of the blue blazed Sunset Rocks Trail starting immediately south of the Toms Run Shelters, extending north about one (1) mile and onto Michaux Road for approximately 300 ft. and then onto the “Dynamite Haul Road” for a little over 1/2 mile to rejoin the A.T. just north of Bunker Hill Road and Half Mile Spring. The temporary reroute will be in place while the Michaux District of the PA Bureau of Forestry conducts herbicide applications along the current A.T. to control non-native invasive plants as part of a 200 acre habitat restoration project in the area of Camp Michaux and Bunker Hill Road.
Lehigh Furnace Gap to Little Gap – A.T. Relocation
(12/20/2019) A short section of the planned relocation of the A.T. through the Palmerton Zinc Pile Superfund Site has been opened for public use. This section is on the east (trail north) side of Lehigh Gap, above the parking lot and below the climb through the rock fall. Additional segments will be opened in the coming years, so hikers should pay careful attention to following blazing and any signage.