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.
ALERT: Footbridge Closure at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
(3/2/2019) The National Park Service released an update on the status of the Goodloe E. Byron Memorial Pedestrian Walkway (footbridge) across the Potomac River. Planning efforts are underway and NPS is currently considering options for a shuttle service that would transport hikers and visitors around the footbridge closure until repairs can be completed. Until this shuttle system is in place, A.T. visitors should still secure their own transportation across the Potomac River using the links found on appalachiantrail.org/transportation.
(12/21/19) The footbridge crossing the Potomac River in Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is closed until further notice due to a train that occurred on Dec. 21, 2019. For more information, please see our news item here.
Shelters on Pennsylvania DCNR Lands CLOSED
Deer Lick, Tumbling Run, Rocky Mountain, Quarry Gap, Birch Run, Toms Run, James Fry at Tagg Run, Eagles Nest, Leroy Smith, Kirkridge
Bear Encounters Reported in Nantahala Ranger District
Bear canisters are strongly recommended for all overnight campers.
Due to a number of close and serious bear encounters in Panthertown and along the Appalachian Trail, the Nantahala Ranger District is strongly recommending that backcountry campers use bear-proof containers for all food and scented items.
Overmountain Shelter Closed Until Further Notice
In order to protect public safety, the Appalachian Ranger District of the Pisgah National Forest has closed the Overmountain Shelter (mile 386.0). Forest Service engineers have determined that the building has become structurally unsound and cannot safely accommodate people. Further evaluations will occur to identify viable management options for the site. The fields around the shelter remain open for tent camping; hikers are asked not to pitch their tent within 40 feet of the shelter in the event there is a structural failure. For more information, view our press release here.
Mitigating the Spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) on the Appalachian Trail
A.T. Trailwide Updates
We are closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19 to ensure we are taking the appropriate actions, not only for our staff, but also for the community of volunteers and hikers who actively use and work on the Trail. Learn about how we are working to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on the Appalachian Trail and to view guidelines for hikers and volunteers to minimize their risks while on the Trail: www.appalachiantrail.org/atc-covid-19-plan
Watauga Lake Shelter Dismantled Due to Increased Bear Activity
Watauga Lake Shelter has been dismantled per a U.S. Forest Service Camping Closure Order due to ongoing bear activity in the area. No picnicking, lingering or overnight camping is allowed, and hikers are advised to continue through the area without stopping.
Hunting Season Awareness
A.T. Trailwide Updates
In many areas of the A.T., hunting is taking place along or very near the A.T.; deer firearm season has begun in some states and will soon in others. To maximize your safety, research where and when hunting is allowed, wear fluorescent or “blaze” orange visible from 360 degrees, and take other precautions. For more information and safety tips during hunting season, visit appalachiantrail.org/hunting. Know before you go!
A.T. Water Source Conditions
A.T. Trailwide Updates
Due to drought conditions in some areas, the springs or streams at overnight sites may be dry or have slow flow. In particular, a number of springs in Georgia have been reported to be dry. Hikers are advised to carry extra water, allow additional time to collect water (which should always be treated — click here for more info) and be prepared to follow the watercourse below springs downhill for some distance to find water. Reports of water scarcity in specific states will be listed; however, no mention of dry water sources does not mean that scarcity does not exist.
Backpackers are advised to be prepared for these conditions by carrying extra water containers and collecting and filtering and/or treating water whenever they find it. Consider alternate plans if you are not prepared to carry several liters of water.
View U.S. Drought Monitor maps to get a general sense of conditions in states and counties along the A.T.
Lick Creek Bridge Washout
(3/18/20) The A.T. footbridge over Lick Creek in Bland County (mile 563.8) has washed out. Lick Creek is 5.4 miles north of the A.T. trailhead at Virginia Highway 42 (O’Lystery picnic pavilion), and 1.4 miles south of the A.T. trailhead at VA-625 (Poor Valley). Hikers should be prepared to ford the creek, wait out high-water conditions, or backtrack if needed. Lick Creek is typically no more than knee-deep at the A.T. crossing, but may become deeper and more hazardous after a heavy rain. Hikers are encouraged to familiarize themselves with standard safety tips for fording creeks and rivers before hiking this section.
Bear Canister Requirements
Bear canisters seasonally required for camping between Jarrard Gap and Neel Gap
A U.S. Forest Service rule requires an approved bear-resistant canister for overnight camping on a 5-mile stretch of the A.T. in the Chattahoochee National Forest between Jarrard Gap and Neel Gap, between March 1 and June 1 each year. This stretch is located between points 26.7 and 31.7 miles north of the southern terminus of the A.T. at Springer Mountain, Georgia, and includes Woods Hole Shelter, Slaughter Creek Campsite, and Blood Mountain Shelter. Bear canisters should be used to store food, food containers, garbage and toiletries. Canisters must be commercially made and constructed of solid, non-pliable material manufactured for the specific purpose of resisting entry by bears. For more information, see the Supervisor’s Order here or call the Chattahoochee – Oconee National Forest at (770) 297-3000.