Virginia – Bear Activity & Shelter Closure (UPDATED 5/12/23) – Matts Creek Shelter




Update: Officials with the U.S. Forest Service have closed Matts Creek Shelter (NOBO mile 785.1) due to bear activity. Camping is not allowed at the shelter or in the surrounding area, including the Matts Creek side trail. Hikers should plan their itineraries accordingly to avoid camping in this area.

All area visitors should use caution, pack out all trash and food waste, and never leave food unattended.

Report bear encounters on the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) here.


The ATC received a report of a food-conditioned bear at Matts Creek Shelter (NOBO mile 785.1). The bear showed little fear of humans and clawed a hole in a tent. The bear also stole a pack.

The ATC strongly recommends that all overnight hikers use a bear canister for the duration of their time on the Appalachian Trail (A.T.). Bear canisters are the surest and most flexible means of food storage for camping along the A.T. to ensure that bears do not access human food.

The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) recently released a new food storage order that requires hikers to properly store food, refuse, and scented items (animal attractants) when camping on national forest land along the A.T. south of Shenandoah National Park.

In addition to properly storing food and scented items overnight, hikers should keep a clean camp, pack out all trash and food waste, and never leave food unattended.

Learn more about bear canisters and bear safety on the A.T. here.