Backcountry conditions change constantly. It is your responsibility
to be prepared for the unexpected.
TRAIL SECTIONS RE-OPENED AFTER HURRICANE FLORENCE; CAUTIONS REMAIN
(9/18/2018, 10:00 am) The National Park Service has re-opened sections of the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina and Virginia that were previously closed due to Hurricane Florence. Access into certain areas of the backcountry could still be affected by flooding or downed trees. For example, in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, Skyline Drive is closed in the north district (mile 0-31.5) and the south district (mile 65.5-105). The central district, between Thornton Gap Entrance Station and Swift Run Entrance Station is open to traffic. Due to the complex jurisdiction of the Trail, it is always recommended to check with the local land manager for conditions and/or closures.
The storm brought localized tornado events in Virginia yesterday and luckily that part of the storm stayed east of the Trail. More rain is expected today from Virginia into West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. Flash flood watches are in effect for many of the areas mentioned above through this afternoon.
Please use extra caution as debris may still fall, saturated soils from several weeks of rain could cause trees to uproot, and unstable surfaces that could cause landslides. Water levels throughout the region are higher than normal and crossings can become treacherous due to excessive rain. If you choose to hike on the Trail, be vigilant about your surroundings.
(Revised 8/30/2018) Mount Rogers/Grayson Highlands area of Southwest Virginia temporarily CLOSED to camping due to bear activity.
Due to increased bear activity, approximately 17 miles of the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) in the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, Grayson Highlands State Park, and surrounding National Forest lands are closed to overnight camping until further notice. This closure order affects the A.T. between Elk Garden/VA-600 and Fox Creek/VA-603, including the three A.T. shelters in those 17 miles: Thomas Knob Shelter, Wise Shelter and Old Orchard Shelter. For more detail and recommended alternatives for long distance hikers, see the Southwest Virginia section below. To read the U.S. Forest Service announcement and view a map of the closure, click here.
BEAR WARNINGS AND OVERNIGHT SITE CLOSURES - MT. ROGERS AREA, other sites in GA, NC, TN, VA, NY, and MA.
Hikers are advised to be “bear aware” in all areas of the A.T. especially around overnight sites where campers may have been improperly storing their food. Remember that any overnight site can become a problem area at any time once a bear has an opportunity to easily take food that is improperly stored.
Hikers should be especially careful in areas noted below, where black bears have been exhibiting behavior that indicates they have become habituated to human food. In addition to following the ATC recommendation to carry a bear resistant canister, hikers should never leave packs unattended. Where food storage devices are provided, hikers should store food and other "smellables" in them upon arrival. Also, do not burn food wrappers or leftovers or leave them in fire pits, which may attract bears. Remember, when a bear is fed by a human — intentionally or unintentionally — a fed bear is a dead bear.
Keep dogs leashed to reduce the risk of negative encounters between dogs and bears.
NEW: Please report any bear incidents: your report will help reduce human/bear conflicts on the A.T.! Bear Incident Report
DAMAGED TREES FROM RECENT STORMS MAY PRESENT CAMPING HAZARDS
Recent storms that included high winds and heavy and prolonged rains have created hazards from damaged or unstable trees due to saturated soils. These will remain a concern in many areas for some time. Campers need to be extremely vigilant about inspecting overnight sites for trees and limbs around and above them that could fall, even in completely still conditions.
ATC strongly recommends a bear canister for storing food on your A.T. hike
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy and Nantahala Ranger District strongly recommend 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 www.sierrawild.gov.
Black bears inhabit every county the Appalachian Trail passes through. Problems can occur at any location on the Appalachian Trail when hikers are careless with food storage. Although hikers are most likely to encounter bear activity in spring and summer, bears can be active at any time of year. Recent problematic bear activity has been reported in locations noted in state by state sections below, where shelter or campsite closures may be in place.
Report any notable trail problems to [email protected]. Photos are helpful.
See below for a state-by-state listing for more details.