As the country reopens from the COVID-19 closures, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy asks hikers to consider three questions:
- Are you, or anyone in your group, exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, or have you been in contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19?
- Is there an official closure of the section of the A.T. you are planning to hike?
- Are you, or anyone in your group, missing any essential gear to not only have a safe and healthy hike but also mitigate the spread or contraction of COVID-19?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, ATC asks hikers to stay home.
If the answer to all these questions is no, ATC requests hikers do the following:
Be self-sufficient: In addition to the ten hiker essentials, carry a CDC-approved mask and hand sanitizer. Practice social distancing; if not possible, make sure you are wearing a mask and other personal protective equipment (PPE) to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Pack a trowel to dig catholes nstead of using privies on the Trail, if open. For overnight trips, use a tent. Treat your hike like a true backcountry experience that is not reliant on A.T. facilities you would otherwise use.
Stay local: Hike close to home. Ensure you do not have to stop for gas or meals along the way. Check the Trail Closures page on the ATC website.
Stay small: Hike only with members of your immediate household or in groups smaller than six people. Avoid well-known locations. Do not access the Trail during high traffic periods, such as weekends and holidays,
Be prepared: Carry a physical map of the area where you are hiking. Share your plans with someone you know in case you need assistance. Review Leave No Trace principles on ATC website.
Be respectful: If you head into town on your trip, please wear PPE and use hand sanitizer or wash your hands with soap frequently. If you exhibit any symptoms associated with COVID-19, leave the Trail and seek medical attention.
Be patient: Different states have different procedures.. Over 100 shelters are still closed. Keep yourself informed and check the ATC website for the latest updates.
ATC requests thru-hikers to continue to postpone thru-hikes for the time being. For more information, read our letter to 2020 thru-hikers by clicking here.