April 29, 2022

Trailway News: Under the Night Sky

This week marks International Dark Sky Week, where we celebrate and commit to protecting the world’s beautiful (and vulnerable) night skies. Dark night skies along the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) landscape help protect the routes of migratory species impacted by light pollution and nocturnal species that rely on the cover of night for foraging — and, of course, star-filled night skies are an irreplaceable part of the A.T. experience we all love.


Learn more about the importance of protecting night skies on the A.T. in our short film “Go Dark: A Wild East Story,” and our featured article by astronomer Dr. Tyler Nordgren, “The Sky Begins at Your Feet.”



Photo by Horizonline Pictures

Nominations Open for ATC Board of Directors

Nominations are now open for positions on the ATC’s Board of Directors! We are looking for candidates who can add diversity of thought to the current Board, and can demonstrate a passion for the A.T. and the mission of the ATC. Fiduciary oversight experience is essential, and this year it is a plus if you have experience in conservation, land management, and climate advocacy. Nominations will be accepted until June 11, 2022.

For more information and to submit your nomination today, visit appalachiantrail.org/board2022.



Photo by Sherri Giroux

ATC’s Harpers Ferry Visitor Center Now Open

The ATC Headquarters and Visitor Center in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, will reopen this Saturday, April 30 at 9 a.m. We appreciate your patience as we conducted maintenance on our beloved historic building.

Hours of operation: Thursday – Monday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. During your visit, check out the 3D map of the A.T., have your photo taken on our iconic front porch, ask questions about the Trail, and — perhaps — start your own A.T. journey!

Plan you visit


Southbound A.T. Thru-Hikes: A Primer

While the vast majority of A.T. thru-hikers choose to hike from Georgia to Maine, a small-but-hardy group of hikers chooses to start at the northern terminus of the Trail. These southbounders, or “SOBOs,” begin on some of the most technically difficult sections of the entire A.T. but also experience more solitude on their journeys. In our latest blog post, we overview some of the special preparation needed to undertake a successful SOBO journey on the Trail.


Are you an aspiring A.T. hiker? Check out our Hiker Preparation series, which covers topics including food storage, campsite selection, Leave No Trace best practices, and more!


Kennebec River Ferry

Available at no charge during peak hiking season, the Kennebec River Ferry in Maine will resume operations for 2022 on May 27 and continue through September 30. The Ferry is the official A.T. route over the dangerous and unpredictable Kennebec River.


Photos by Laurie Potteiger

That’s a Wrap: 2022 Flip Flop Festival 

Thank you to everyone that came and visited with us during the 2022 Flip Flop Festival, hosted by the towns of Harpers Ferry and Bolivar, West Virginia! We had a blast celebrating the Trail and are looking forward to seeing everyone next year! To all of the 2022 flip flop thru-hikers who stopped by the festival before or during their A.T. journey – good luck and happy trails!



In Other News…

Save the Date for Trail Days – The 35th annual Appalachian Trail Days Festival in Damascus, Virginia, returns on May 13-15. For more information and a schedule of events, visit visitdamascus.org.

Cheers for Trail Volunteers – Last week we celebrated Volunteer Appreciation Week by sharing the stories of four A.T. volunteers that love the Trail and seven key reasons why volunteers choose to give back to the A.T. Keep the celebration going — find your next opportunity to give back to the Trail using our Volunteer Engagement Platform.

Public Comment Period for Smokies Fee Program Changes – Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP) has extended the public comment period on the proposed Smokies Park Tag, camping fee, and day-use facility rate changes through May 11.

Community Spotlight

Happy Trails!

Thank you for your continued support and the love you express for the Trail!