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Trail Updates

Keep up-to-date with the latest conditions on the Trail.
Report Trail conditions: [email protected]

trailwide updates








Bear Icon

ATC recommends a bear canister for storing food on your A.T. hike
(1/12/2017-present)  The ATC recommends carrying a bear canister—constructed with solid, non-pliable material and designed to resist bears—to store your food and smellables on the A.T. Bear canisters provide an effective alternative to hanging food bags.

An excellent resource for black bear related information can be found at http://www.sierrawild.gov/. Examples of recommended bear canisters can be found here

Recent bear activity in:

New York (5/23/17) See NY section, below, for details.
Shenandoah National Park (5/24/17) See SNP section, below, for details.

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Seasonal/regional droughts—Dry water sources and fire danger
(1/3/2017)  Extreme regional droughts in the South, as well as less severe droughts in other regions of the A.T., are exacerbating normal seasonal droughts. Please treat water sources listed in your guidebook as 'seasonal' or 'intermittent' as dry. Be prepared for even some sources normally considered reliable, especially in Georgia and North Carolina south of the Smokies, to be dry. Bring extra water containers for these areas and top them off when water is available, or consider alternate areas where drought is not as severe. Check the U.S. Drought Monitor for the latest conditions ​to get general sense of conditions in the area you are planning a hike.

Dry water sources that are reported to the ATC will be updated, below, in their respective states—these probably account for a fraction of the water sources that may actually be dry due to the low frequency of reports. Local Trail Maintaining Clubs, Trail Registers (at the shelters), and Trailhead kiosks are additional places to look for current Trail conditions including water sources.

Although all fire bans along the A.T. have been lifted, fire danger remains high in some areas. Always extinguish campfires completely until ashes are cool to the touch. Use extreme care when using stoves, when smoking, or when creating any kind of flames. More fire safety tips can be found on our website at www.appalachiantrail.org/campfiresafety.

​trail updates by state

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Georgia

Fire Damage Alert
(4/13/2017) Below is an overview of confirmed areas where wildfires directly impacted the Trail in 2016 (burned over or up to Trail). While there are no closed sections of the Trail and burned sections have been checked for hazards, it is very important to continue to be very careful about trees or tree limbs which could fall, burned wooden Trail structures like steps, bridges and log retaining walls, and even the footpath, itself.

 State     ​A.T. miles         Section
 GA     1.3         Plumorchard Gap (73.8) to Blue Ridge Gap (75.1)
 GA     6         Neel Gap (mile 31.4) to Tesnatee Gap (mile 37.4)


Bear canisters seasonally required for camping between Jarrard Gap and Neel Gap
(unknown date - present) A new U.S. Forest Service rule requires approved bear-resistant storage containers 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 Moutain, 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. For more information, call the Chattahoochee - Oconee National Forest at (770) 297-3000.


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North Carolina

Trail re-opening—Wayah Gap to Winding Stair Gap
(4/13/2017) The A.T. between Winding Stair Gap (mile 109.5 north of Springer) and Wayah Gap (115.4 miles north of Springer) that was closed on 4/11/2017 has re-opened. The fire, which was located near the A.T., has been contained.

Fire Damage Alert
(4/13/2017) Below is an overview of confirmed areas where wildfires directly impacted the Trail in 2016 (burned over or up to Trail). While there are no closed sections of the Trail and burned sections have been checked for hazards, it is very important to continue to be very careful about trees or tree limbs which could fall, burned wooden Trail structures like steps, bridges and log retaining walls, and even the footpath, itself.

 State     ​A.T. miles         Section
 NC     6         Winding Stair Gap (mile 109.5) to Wayah Gap (115.4)
 NC     13.1         Deep Gap (85.1) to Mooney Gap (98.2)
 NC     3.1         Wallace Gap (106.4) to Winding Stair Gap
 NC     6.4         Wayah Gap (115.4) to Licklog Gap (121.8)*
 NC     7.9         Tellico Gap (128.9) to Wesser/Nantahala River (136.8)

*Significant damage to the historic Wayah Bald Observation Tower (mile 119.6) built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, in this section.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Water source update
(02/27/17) Info on the status of water sources in the Smokies: 

All springs reported as flowing

Shelters in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Bear activity and closures 
(6-21-17 - Present) Bear activity has been reported at various shelters in the park. Hikers must use the food storage cables provided at all backcountry campsites in the park. Occasionally shelters are closed when bear activity becomes especially problematic.

These shelters are currently closed: N/A

These shelters require caution due to bear activity:
Russell Field Shelter


Backcountry Permit Fees
(2/1/13 - Present) As of February, 2013, a backcountry permit must be obtained for overnight stays before entering the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and a $4 per person fee will be required for each night in the backcountry. Backcountry permits can be obtained up to 30 days in advance. Hikers who meet the definition of an Appalachian Trail thru-hiker (those who begin and end their hike at least 50 miles outside the park and only travel on the A.T. in the park) are eligible for a thru-hiker permit of $20 (valid for 38 days from the date issued for an up to 8 day hike through the Park). Permits are available at www.smokiespermits.nps.gov. You may also obtain a permit in person at the park’s Backcountry Office (at the Sugarlands Visitor Center near Gatlinburg, TN) or over the phone; with permits issued by fax, mail or email. Hikers staying overnight in the backcountry are required to have a printed copy of the permit.

For more information, visit www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/backcountry-camping.htm or call (865) 436-1297.

Davenport Gap (Tenn. 32/N.C. 284,eastern boundary of Great Smoky Mountains National Park) – Vehicle break-ins and car thefts
(1/3/16 - Present) Do not park overnight: This location has a history of vandalism with car thefts reported as recently as 1-3-16. Park at Big Creek Ranger Station in seasons when rangers are present.

For a full list of road and facility closures and warnings throughout the park, click here. Weather-related road and facility closures may change throughout the day. For updated road and weather information please call (865) 436-1200. Once you hear a voice, dial extension 631 for road information or extension 630 for a weather forecast.  Click here  for more information about bears in the backcountry.

North Carolina & Tennessee Border 

Water source update
(02/​27/17) Info on the status of water sources in NC/TN border: 

Unknown at this time

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Tennessee

Laurel Fork Shelter - Reopened for Use
(10/31/2016) The Laurel Fork shelter is now open for use.  Blowdowns from a wind event that occurred on 10/4/16 that threatened the shelter have been cleared thanks to a small crew of maintainers.  
 
Watuaga Dam - Bears Active in Area
(5/17/16-present) Hikers should use caution near Watauga Dam as bears are active in this area; hikers should be alert for and keep a respectful distance from bear(s) with cubs.
 
Watauga Lake Shelter - Closed
(4/15/16-present) Watauga Lake Shelter closed to all entry due to bear activity.

No picnicking, lingering or overnight camping. Hiking the Appalachian Trail only. BEARS ACTIVE IN THIS AREA. Please continue through the area without stopping. Closure Order: National Forest System lands Oliver Hollow Rd. to Wilbur Dam; closed until further notice.
 

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Southwest Virginia


Straight Branch footbridge washed out - Detour in place
(unknown date - Present) A section of the A.T. near Straight Branch and US-58 east of Damascus, VA, has been rerouted indefinitely due to the complete washout of the Straight Branch Footbridge during a high water event in May 2013. The reroute (detour) follows portions of the Beech Grove Trail and Virginia Creeper Trail. This detour is expected to be in place for the foreseeable future, as A.T. management partners plan for the construction of a replacement footbridge. For more information, contact Mount Rogers NRA at (276) 783-5196.


Mt. Rogers – Vehicle break-ins and thefts
(unknown date - Present) The Trail between Damascus and VA Rt. 16 at Mt. Rogers NRA Headquarters has a long history of vehicle break-ins and thefts.


Central Virginia

Water Source Update
(06/09/17) Water source updates for Central Virginia:

John Spring Shelter: Unreliable
Catawba Shelter: Low
Campbell Shelter: Good
Lamberts Meadow Shelter: Good
Pickle Branch Shelter: Good


Pine Swamp Branch shelter temporarily closed due to overhead hazards
(03/21/17 - present) Pine Swamp Branch A.T. shelter is located north of Pearisburg, Virginia (654.7 miles from Springer). The shelter, and a 300’ radius around the shelter, is temporarily closed to overnight use due to multiple standing dead trees caused by gypsy moths.

Hikers: Please mark your guidebooks and plan to camp elsewhere. This shelter closure is for your safety. Workarounds and more information to navigate this area can be found here.

Fire Damage Alert
(4/13/2017) Below is an overview of confirmed areas where wildfires directly impacted the Trail in 2016 (burned over or up to Trail). While there are no closed sections of the Trail and burned sections have been checked for hazards, it is very important to continue to be very careful about trees or tree limbs which could fall, burned wooden Trail structures like steps, bridges and log retaining walls, and even the footpath, itself.

 State     ​A.T. miles         Section
 VA     ~5         US 60 (806.7) - Hog Camp Gap (813.0)

Humpback Rocks—Overnight camping restrictions lifted
(9/06/16) The north end of the Blue Ridge Parkway experienced a number incidents of problem bear activity both at Parkway picnic areas and along the nearby Appalachian Trail. Due to the dangerous nature of these incidents, there ​was an overnight camping restriction in place between Humpback Gap (853.5 miles north of Springer Mt.) and Dripping Rock (847 miles north of Springer Mt.) in order to minimize food-related bear encounters in that area. This overnight camping restriction has been lifted.

Hikers are still advised to exercise caution when travelling in black bear country by not giving food to wildlife, storing food properly at night and being familiar with the proper techniques to use if they should encounter a bear in the backcountry.

The Humpback Rocks Picnic Area is now open to all use, including Appalachian Trail access.

Please report any unusual bear activity in the area to Ridge District Ranger Kurt Speers ([email protected]).


Thunder Hill Shelter reopened
(7/13/16) The Thunder Hill Shelter (located at mile 769.7 miles north of Springer Mtn) is now open.  It was closed on May 25th due to repeated problem bear activity.


Lambert's Meadow Shelter and Campground reopened--feature food storage vaults
(7/11/16) The Lambert's Meadow shelter and campground (located 718.1 miles north of Springer Mtn.) are now open for use.  They were closed on 5-11-16 due to problem bear activity, including a bear coming into the shelter and taking hikers' food bags. There are now bear resistant food storage vaults for hikers' overnight food storage--please use them :)

Shenandoah National Park 

Tent camping closure at Gravel Springs Hut lifted
(05/26/17) As a result of unusual bear activity the park closed the tent camping pads around the Gravel Springs Hut (mile 956.3 north of Springer) on 05/24/17. The shelter remained open to overnight use. The area has been monitored and the Shenandoah National Park has lifted the temporary tent camping closure.

Skyline Drive Updates
(1/1/15-present) Skyline Drive is a 2-lane scenic highway following the ridgecrest and traversing the length of the Park. It roughly parallel and frequently crosses the Appalachian Trail. It is open year round; however, the Drive may be temporarily closed on short notice for indefinite periods due to weather related conditions. For the most current Skyline Drive status, call (540) 999-3500, choose Option 1, and then Option 1. Park staff also post opening and closing information on Facebook and Twitter.

Park Facilities
(1/1/15-present) Click here for the Park's most updated facility schedule.  


Northern Virginia

Water Source Update
(02/27/17) Water source updates for Northern Virginia:

Unknown at this time


Snickers Gap/Va. 7 area parking notice
(4/22/16) Hikers are cautioned against parking on the shoulders of VA 679 if the VA 679 parking lot is full - vehicles parked on either shoulder will be towed. Alternate parking is available nearby at the intersection of VA 7 and VA 601, where a rather large parking lot is located. If your car is towed, contact the Clarke County Communications Center at (540) 955-1234. 

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West Virginia

Loudoun Heights and Orange-blazed trail now open for hiking
(05/4/17) The Loudoun Heights Trail and Orange Trail were closed temporarily for hazard tree removal. Both trails are now open for hiking.

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Maryland

Dahlgren Backpackers Campground—open 
(5/10/17) South Mountain Recreation Area has re-opened Dahlgren Backpackers Campground bathroom and showers.

Water source update
(2/09/17) Info on the status of water sources in MD: 

Pogo Campsite spring: reported flowing at 100%

Pen Mar - Parking Pass Available
(10/6/14-present) An advance parking pass is now available for overnight parking at PenMar. It is not required, but is strongly recommended for those leaving their vehicle for more than a couple of nights. Here's how to get the pass: 

Click here to email Christine Casey at the Washington County Parks and Facilities Dept. Be prepared to provide the following information:

(1) make and model of your vehicle.
(2) registered owner's name.
(3) tag information.
(4) dates the vehicle will parked.

You will receive a "Do Not Tow" pass as an attachment that must be printed and posted in your vehicle so local police will know that the vehicle has been registered. For more information, call (240) 313-2700 Tuesday-Friday from 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (reduced hours ​during winter months).

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Pennsylvania

Rausch Gap—Temporary Reroute
(06/01/17 - 07/01/17) The bridge carrying the A.T. over Rausch Creek (mile ~1176 north of Springer) is scheduled for replacement starting June 1. A short, temporary detour, blazed in blue and signed, will be in place. Please obey signage and keep away from the construction area.

Pine Grove General Store Open 7 Days a Week
(5/23/17) The store, located in Pine Grove Furnace State Park, is open 7 days a week for the summer season. Beginning May 27, hours will be 8:00 am to 7:00 pm daily.

Pine Grove Furnace State Park—Ironmaster's Mansion
(5/10/17) The Ironmaster's Mansion (hostel) is open for the season. Contact Ironmaster's Mansion for details.

Boiling Springs—Allenberry Inn
(5/10/17) Allenberry Resort has reopened, however they are not offering a special rate for hikers.

Water source update
(5/10/17) Info on the status of water sources in PA: 

Water faucet at Kirkridge Shelter (Fox Gap) has been turned on for the season;

Port Clinton—Trailhead parking closure
(8/16/16 - present) The parking lot at the corner of Blue Mountain Road and PA 61—on PA Game Commission property—is no longer available for access to the A.T. It is blocked and signed 'No Parking.' A nearby parking lot directly off PA 61 on Park Service Lands remains a viable option.

A.T. Midpoint (approx.) –Temporary Reroute Pending
(7/20/16-present) The A.T. north of Dead Woman’s Hollow Road may be rerouted this spring, as early as August 1st, for short durations during mowing and prescribed fire operations. Hikers should observe signage and follow any re-routes as directed.

The PA Bureau of Forestry (PA BOF) in cooperation with ATC, PATC and the Western PA Conservancy, will conduct a 500+ acre project aimed at restoring a Scrub Oak/Pitch Pine Barrens ecosystem within the Big Pine Flats eco-region. The project is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2016 and will include approximately 2 miles of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (A.T.) and its associated corridor in Pennsylvania's Michaux State Forest near Dead Woman’s Hollow Road. This area is a critical reference site for pitch pine/scrub oak habitat. It will be treated using prescribed burning, a commercial timber sale, and mechanical mowing of the forest understory and some portion of the overstory tree layers.

For more info, contact: Roy Brubaker, District Forester, Michaux State Forest, (717) 352-2211

Pine Grove Furnace State Park – Parking rules
(4/26/16-present) Pine Grove Furnace State Park requires that hikers check in with the park office before leaving a vehicle in the park and that vehicles be left for no more than one week. 

Caledonia State Park – Parking rules
(4/26/16-present) Caledonia State Park now requests that those parking overnight at the parking area on Rt. 30 register at the park office. For more information, contact the park at (717) 352-2161.  

Lehigh Gap to Little Gap – CAUTION - Remedial activities in progress
(4/9/15-present) Remedial activities associated with the revegetation of Blue Mountain are currently being conducted near the A.T. between Lehigh Gap and Little Gap as part of the Palmerton Zinc Pile Superfund Site. The Appalachian Trail and blue-blaze Winter Trail will remain open during these activities. Occasional truck traffic will occur on the administrative access road that parallels the A.T. Hikers are advised to stay on the A.T. and not use the road. 

Pennsylvania Game Commission
(1/7/16-present) Fluorescent Orange Requirement Nov. 15 - Dec 15: On state game lands in Pennsylvania (much of the A.T. between the Susquehanna River and Delaware Water Gap--roughly the northern 2/3 of the state), all hunters and non-hunters are required to wear at least 250 square inches of fluorescent orange material on the head, chest and back combined, or a fluorescent orange hat, from Nov. 15 to Dec. 15 (except on Sundays). The orange material must be visible from all angles (360 degrees). For more information about hunting ssafety along the A.T. visit www.appalachiantrail.org/hunting.  

Camping Regulations: Only thru-hikers (defined as those "walking the Appalachian Trail from point of beginning to an exit, which is not the place of beginning") may camp on Pennsylvania Game Commission lands, and these hikers must camp within 200 ft of A.T. and at least 500 ft from a spring, stream or public access area.

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New Jersey

Vernon—The St. Thomas Episcopal Church Hiker Hostel is closed
(05/24/17)The Church is closed for renovations under new ownership.

Water source update
(02/27/17) Info on the status of water sources in the NJ state: 

Unknown at this time

Vernon - Rt. 517
(5/6/16) Hikers are urged to obey the No Parking signs on Rt. 517. Parking along 517 is very limited and cars parked in the No Parking zone have been ticketed recently.

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New York

Harriman State Park – Problem Bear at Fingerboard Shelter
(05/23/17) There have been recent reports of a regularly appearing bear at or near the Fingerboard Shelter (mile 1388.3 miles north of Springer). It has been observed obtaining food bags that may not have been hung properly (Your bear bag should be 12 feet from the ground, 6 feet from the trunk, and 6 feet from the limb from which it hangs). Or better yet, just use a bear canister.


Bear Mountain – Relocation
(4/9/2015-present) Parts of a planned three-mile relocation of the A.T. over Bear Mountain have been opened to the public. Hikers should pay close attention to blazing in the area. Work on the remainder of this relocation and restoration of the old route and social trails in the area will continue. 


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Connecticut


​Trail section Re-Opened on Schaghticoke Mountain (south of Kent) 
(5/23/17 3:45 p.m.) The 7.5-mile section of the A.T. that was closed on May 17 between Bulls Bridge and Mt. Algo Shelter due to a wildfire has re-opened.

Water source update
(12/28/16) All water sources reported "in good shape, when not frozen." (Thanks to the AMC Connecticut A.T. Committee for this update!)

Iron Bridge, Housatonic River - Now open to hikers
(5/11/16) The Iron Bridge across the Housatonic River at Falls Village is now open to motor vehicles and hikers.  It was closed for construction.    

St. John's Ledges Parking Area Re-Opened
(​12/28/16) The parking area at St. John's Ledges on River Road in Kent, CT has re-opened. (Thanks to AMC Connecticut A.T. Committee for this update!)

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Massachusetts


Water source update
(02/27/17) Info on the status of water sources in southern MA 

Unknown at this time

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Vermont

No updates at this time.


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New Hampshire

AMC Thru-Hiker Pass (providing discounts on A.T. campsites)
(05/23/17) A new program was introduced by the Appalachian Mountain Club for the 2017 season. Any A.T. thru-hiker or section-hiker who pays for one night at a fee campsite ($10) along the A.T. in the White Mountains is eligible for this pass, which is good for 2 weeks. It provides a 50% discount at any of the other 8 A.T. fee campsites through the White Mountains, and some other perks. More info can be found here.

Water source update
(02/27/17) Info on the status of water sources in NH: 

Unkown at this time

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Maine 

100 mile wilderness—Swollen rivers and creeks due to heavy rain
(06/20/17) Trial reports indicate that numerous creeks and rivers are flowing over the their banks. Take caution: If streams are too high or too swift to ford wait for it to recede or find a safe alternative route. Make good decisions :)


Appalachian Trail Visitor Center in Monson, ME
(05/23/17) Everyone is welcome. Long-distance hikers are able to obtain information about the 2017 Baxter State Park hiker permit. Staff are available to help plan logistics for the 100 Mile Wilderness and Katahdin. Trail conditions posted daily. Community and day hike information also available.

Hours: 8-11, 1-5 every day (June 7 to Oct 15)
Address: 5 Main Street, Monson, ME 04464
Phone: 207-766-7091 (active as of June 7)
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/monsonatvisitorcenter/
MonsonVC2017


Baxter State Park

(05/23/17) 2017 Appalachian Trail Long Distance Hiker Permit: A free A.T. long distance hiker permit will be required of all long distance A.T. hikers: Northbound Thru-Hikers (Nobos), Southbound Thru-Hikers (Sobos), Flip-Flop Thru-Hikers and Section-hikers.

Long distance A.T. hikers must obtain a permit card in person at Baxter State Park Headquarters or Katahdin Stream Campground when the A.T. (Hunt Trail) opens for hiking. Once hikers obtain a permit card they will need to have it stamped at the Katahdin Stream Ranger Station.

The number of AT-Hiker Permit Cards for 2017 are limited by a Baxter State Park quota: 3150 A.T. hikers. If all available permit cards have been issued for 2017, "The Birches" long distance hiker campsite will close for the year. Hikers may complete their hike by obtaining a Day Use Parking Reservation (DUPR) or campground reservation and enter the Park through the Togue Pond Gate.

For more information, please visit the Baxter State Park webpage or refer to their recent announcement


Hikers staying overnight within the park boundary must camp at designated sites; reservations are ​necessary for overnight sites for all hikers except those who have arrived on foot walking more than 100 miles. (​Southbound thru-hikers should plan on making reservations for at least the night following their climb of Katahdin, and possibly the night before). All overnight hikers must pay a camping fee whether a reservation is obtained in advance or not. For more information about camping in the park and climbing Katahdin, visit www.baxterstatepark.org and the Baxter State Park Facebook page.

 

Kennebec Ferry Service
(4/17/17) The Kennebec River is the most formidable unbridged crossing along the entire A.T. Do not attempt to ford the river. Please use the ferry service. 2017 Kennebec Ferry schedule


Water source update
(​02/27/17) Water sources associated with the following landmarks have been reported dry

Unknown at this time


Access to Mt. Abraham - The Rapid Stream road damaged
(unknown date-present) It is being repaired only to the last house which is 3 miles short of the trailhead.