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.
Pennsylvania – Prescribed Burns Planned – Lebanon County, near Rausch Gap
(March 21, 2021) Starting Sunday, March 21 the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) plans to conduct several prescribed burns on State Game Land 211 near Rausch Gap. The section of A.T. affected is roughly the Rausch Gap Shelter Side Trail (mile 1178.6) to Greenpoint School Road (1183.3). These burns are conditions and weather dependent and may take until the end of April to complete. A section of the A.T. is within the area to be burned and depending on which section of the area is being burned on a given day, may be closed and hikers will be asked to use a detour or to wait while operations are occurring. Hikers may also encounter smoky conditions. PGC personnel will be present, and hikers are requested to follow their direction for everyone’s safety.
Pennsylvania – Prescribed Burn Planned – near A.T. south of Boiling Springs
(3/19/2021) The PA Game Commission plans to conduct a prescribed burn to help regenerate the pitch pine-dry oak forest habitat on a portion of State Game Lands 305 this spring sometime between March 20 and mid-May, 2021. The burn will not affect the Appalachian Trail directly but will be on adjacent lands in the vicinity of Alec Kennedy Shelter (northbound mile 1120.1) and Center Point Knob (northbound mile 1121.1) and approximately 3.5 miles south of Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania (northbound mile 1124.0). The A.T. will remain open, however hikers in the area at the time of the burn may experience smoky conditions.
Temporary Closure of Shelters and Privies on APPA Lands – Pennsylvania
(Current 4/11/2021 From the 03/02/2021 NPS APPA Compendium of Orders)
COVID-19 Related Temporary Closure of All Shelters and Privies on APPA Lands
Effective March 30, 2020, the National Park Service is closing all overnight shelters (55 total) and privies (75 total) on land administered by the Appalachian National Scenic Trail Park Office in the states of VA (10 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, 4privies), and ME (22 shelters, 29 privies). These closures are consistent with and in concurrence of our state and non-profit partners. These modifications to operations are in support of federal, state, and local efforts to ensure the health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, partners, and local communities. These closures will be in effect until further notice.
In the Pennsylvania section of the A.T., this affects shelters and privies at the following shelter sites:
Alec Kennedy Shelter
Clarks Ferry Shelter
Peters Mountain Shelter
William Penn Shelter
Windsor Furnace Shelter
George W. Outerbridge Shelter
All shelters and privies will be closed to all use on Appalachian National Scenic Trail Park Office lands to implement 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 will 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.
For more information, visit www.nps.gov/appa/learn/management/upload/2021_APPA_Compendium_021621.pdf.
Pennsylvania – COVID-19 Travel Info
Travel Information Updates
As of March 1, 2021 the Order of the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health for Mitigation Relating To Travel is no longer in effect. Travelers should still practice appropriate public health measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 such as masking, physical distancing, and hand hygiene.
COVID Alert PA is a free and voluntary mobile app developed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health in partnership with NearForm, University of Pennsylvania, and MIT Lincoln Laboratory using Apple and Google’s Exposure Notification System.
The app’s features include an interactive COVID-19 symptom check-in, alerts for potential exposures to the virus, updates on the latest public health data about COVID-19 in PA and public health guidance for what to do if you have a potential exposure to COVID-19. The app is designed to ensure privacy of the user. It does not use GPS, location services or any movement or geographical information. It will never collect, transmit or store personal information. It is completely anonymous.
After you download COVID Alert PA to your smartphone, you can opt-in to receive alerts if you have had a potential exposure to someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
More information can be found at the State of Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 Information for Travelers page.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Scott Farm Water Source No Longer Available
(Re-confirmed 4/22/19) Due to an unrepairable leak, the hydrant at the ATC Scott Farm Trail Work Center, adjacent to the Conodoguinet Creek Bridge (mile 1133.0) has been shut off and no public drinking water at this location is available.