Current Trail Updates (Last updated 10/13/2011)
Hurricane Irene and Hurricane Lee
Two hurricanes in early September caused significant damage in some areas, including flooding and washed-out bridges and boardwalks. The most significant impacts were reported in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Vermont (where the Trail through the entire state has been closed), and Maine. Low-lying areas were hit hardest, and road access has been affected in some areas. Some temporary re-routes may be required. Carrying a map and compass is strongly recommended. We have listed closures and cautions we are aware of below, but please check local land-managing agencies website, trail club websites, and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy Facebook page before contemplating a hike, or contact an ATC office at www.appalachiantrail.org/locations.ATTN: THRU-HIKERS: If a section of the A.T. is closed or presents a serious safety hazard, hikers may take an alternative route or skip those sections entirely and can be still eligible to receive 2,000-miler status.
Neels Gap to Jarrard Gap – Closure Ended
The closure order prohibiting camping along the AT expired 5/15/11. Camping is again permitted on the Appalachian Trail between Neels Gap and Jarrard Gap. Wildlife managers will closely monitor the area for bear activity to determine future management decisions. Visit the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest website alerts page or call (706)745-6928 for details.
The U.S. Forest Service advises backpackers to properly hang their food and scraps, and seriously consider the use of bear-proof food canisters. Bears in the area seem to have found ways to reach food hung by standard methods. For more information on hiking in bear country visit the black bears section of our website.
NORTH CAROLINA No updates at this time.
GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK The following shelters are closed due to bear activity.
Use caution at the following shelters:
•Double Spring Gap
For a full list of closures and warnings throughout the park, click here.
Click herefor more information on black bears in the backcountry.
Clingmans Dome – Water update
Water is currently not available near the day-hiker parking lot, as page 36 of the 2010 Thru-Hikers' Companion indicates. Water can be purchased by the quart from a nearby store for $2. The store is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Newfound Gap – Water not available. The water system and drinking fountain are closed due to the potential for contamination by surface water. Bottled water may be available from the Great Smoky Mountains Association store at Clingmans Dome, which is open daily from 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM.
NORTH CAROLINA & TENNESSEE BORDER
Unaka Mountain – Relocation
Volunteers from TEHCC, ATC Konnarock Crew, Hard Core Crew, and student groups recently completed a series of relocations on the north side of Unaka Mountain.
TENNESSEE US 19E to Bishop Hollow – Relocation completed
A 0.7 mile relo in the section between US 19E and Bishop Hollow was completed in 2008. This relo moved the A.T. route away from both Bear Branch Road (where trash was frequently dumped) and a steep drainage and onto a sidehill grade with nice views of the Roan Highlands.
SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA Grindstone Campground
Grindstone Campground now open.
Mt. Rogers – Vehicle break-ins and thefts
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 Va. 621, Craig Creek Valley north to Dragons Tooth – Fire Damage
Fire damage from the February 2011 Pickle Branch Fire may be visible in this area. As always, hikers are encouraged to stay on established trails, particularly in the burned areas.
Dragons Tooth – VANDALISM ALERT
In late July 2010, several cars were reported vandalized at the Rt. 311 parking area for the Dragons Tooth side trail.
Rockfish Gap – VANDALISM ALERT
In late July, a hiker's vehicle was reportedly broken into at the Rockfish Gap parking area located on the Skyline Drive just north of I-64.
SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK Gravel Springs Gap north to Compton Gap - Fire Damage
Fire damage from the February 2011 Smith Run Fire may be visible in this area. As always, hikers are encouraged to stay on established trails, particularly in the burned areas.
Shenandoah National Park has lifted its temporary camping closure at Bearfence Mtn Hut. Bearfence Mtn Hut is open to camping. Bearfence Mtn Hut is .7 miles north of Lewis Mtn. Campground. Lewis Mtn Campground is at Skyline Drive mile post 57.6. Please use available food storage devices or hang food, garbage, scented items, etc., 12 feet from the ground and 6 feet out from a limb or trunk.
NORTHERN VIRGINIA 522/Chester Gap parking – Trailhead vandalism.
Every window in 2 cars smashed. There was no history of vandalism recent prior to this incident, and none reported since. (Potomac A.T. Club 8/17/11)
WEST VIRGINIA Keys Gap – VANDALISM ALERT
This parking area, located on Rt. 9 at the Virginia-West Virginia state line, has a long history of break-ins and vandalism. To promote the security of Trail users and assist law enforcement, camping is now prohibited within the 1.5 mile section from WV Rt. 9 north to the powerline cut, and within 0.5 mile south of Rt. 9. Leaving cars in the Keys Gap parking area overnight is not recommended; suggestions for vehicle security can be found on Parking & Transportation
MARYLAND Crampton Gap Shelter spring is dry. Water is available at Gathland State Park from a spigot by the restrooms, 0.4 south of the shelter side trail. (8/1/11)
Dahlgren Campground – Bear activity
Hikers have reported food supplies stolen by a bear at the Dahlgren Backpacker Campground. South Mountain SP has also noted other reports of bear problems in the area. Although black bears have not historically posed much of a problem to hikers in Maryland, they are out there and are now being seen more frequently. Read our recommendations for wildlife safety.
Raven Rock Shelter – Shelter open
Raven Rock Shelter is OPEN. Access to the new shelter is on the west side of the A.T., just a few feet south of the access to the old Devil’s Racecourse Shelter. The water source is a spring located 0.3 miles east from the A.T. (on the blue-blazed trail to the old shelter/Ritchie Road).
PENNSYLVANIA Pine Grove Furnace State Park – New parking rules
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.
Pine Grove Furnace State Park, PA. The Ironmasters Mansion hostel has reopened for business, but note that the doors are locked from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily.
The ATC Mid-Atlantic Regional Office – Pay phone removed
A payphone on the porch of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy Mid-Atlantic Regional Office has been removed by the phone company.
Boiling Springs, PA – The long-term parking lot will be closed for resurfacing sometime after July 15, 2011. Contact the Mid-Atlantic ATC office well in advance for updates and possible alternatives
Cumberland Valley- flooding reported during Hurricane Lee but water has receded.
Clarks Ferry Bridge (the highway bridge over the Susquehanna River that also carries the A.T.) – reopened (ATC 9/12/11)Trout Run (about a mile south of Swatara Gap) – Possibly hazardous conditions. (Swatara Gap State Park 9/12/11)Swatara State Park A.T. bridge -- sustained some minor damage, but appears to be okay for pedestrians. (Swatara Gap State Park 9/12/11)
Darlington Shelter – Spring unreliable
The spring serving as the water source near the Darlington Shelter is known to be unreliable. An alternate water source is a more reliable spring located 1 mile south of the shelter.
Part. 309 – VANDALISM ALERT
Two attempted vehicle break-ins have been reported for the Rt. 309 parking lot: one in June 2008, and more recently in July 2009. Suggestions for vehicle security can be found on Getting to the Trail.
Palmerton – Temporary relocation
Zinc smelting plants (now shut down) in Palmerton have left Blue Mountain nearly devoid of vegetation in the Lehigh Gap area. A long-term remediation project was begun in March of 2008.
Lehigh Gap – Temporary relocation and side trail closure
The National Park Service, in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration, began a slope stabilization project in mid-July 2010 on the east side of Lehigh Gap. As a result, a temporary relocation will be put in place for the A.T. where it passes through Lehigh Gap and the blue blaze Winter Trail is closed. Additionally, the east Lehigh Gap parking area is open for day use only; overnight parking is available at the west Lehigh Gap parking area. The National Park Service asks that hikers be alert to construction activities while in the area. For additional project information, please visit the following link:www.nps.gov/appa/parkmgmt/publicinvolvement.htm
Delaware Water Gap NRA: Hurricane Irene Closures
The A.T. is open; a listing of facilities and other trails that are open ca be found at: www.nps.gov/dewa/parknews/newsreleases.htm (9/7/11)
NEW JERSEY Post-Irene Trail Updates - www.nynjtc.org/news/postirene-message-hikers-trail-maintainers
Long House Creek Bridge (near Bearfort Mountain/Greenwood Lake) -- washed out. (NYNJTC report 9/3/11)Heading trail north: At Long House Road (1.4 north of Warwick Turnpike, last paved road in NJ), turn right. Follow Long House Road for about .7, turn left on Riverside Road. Follow Riverside Road for about .9. Riverside Road is paved for the first .5, dirt/gravel (closed to vehicles) for the remainder. Rejoin A.T. at .9, turn right, going uphill.
Trail Re-opening: The closed section of A.T. in Stokes State Forest and the Gren Anderson Shelter in New Jersey have re-opened. (9/11/11)
Mohican Outdoor Center - Re-opened. (10/2/11)
High Point State Park – New overnight hiker parking area
High Point State Park has moved the overnight hiker parking area to a larger and flatter paved lot 0.2 mile further east on NJ Rt. 23. The new parking area, marked by a sign, is on the south side of Rt. 23 and is connected to the A.T. via a 0.25 mile side trail, a portion of which utilizes the red-blazed Iris Trail. A free permit from the High Point SP office is required for overnight parking.Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge (north of Unionville, NY) -- under water. (NYNJTC report 9/3/11)Pochuck Boardwalk Closed
In the Vernon Township between Pochuck Mountain and Wawayanda Mountain is underwater and closed. The A.T. here will revert to its former route—a roadwalk around the Pochuck Swamp. (ATC report 9/1/11)Black Creek Bridge (near Canal Road) -- closed. (NYNJTC report 9/3/11)Wawayanda Shelter – Relocation
The route of the A.T. was recently changed through the area around Wawayanda Shelter.
NEW YORK Post-Irene Trail Updates - www.nynjtc.org/news/postirene-message-hikers-trail-maintainers
Bear Mountain State Park
Re-opened Sept 2.
Swamp River Bridge is back in place - The Swamp River Bridge has been floated back up stream and set back on its footings. This means the A.T. in the Pawling area is fully open and a detour is no longer necessary. (NYNJTC report 9/4/11)
Little Dam Lake – Little Dam Bridge collapsed
Little Dam Bridge, just south of Little Dam Lake, 3 miles west (or Trail south) of NY 17 and the NY Thruway, has collapsed. A crew from the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference has installed step stones. These were reported submerged under fast-flowing water 9/8/11
West Mountain – VANDALISM ALERT
On West Mountain, 0.75 mile south of Seven Lakes Drive, volunteers of the NY-NJ Trail Conference have installed stone steps, placed scree stone and brush to the sides, and slightly altered the alignment of the treadway three times since 2007, in an effort to rehabilitate tread that had become eroded and widened. Vandals have undone the work of the volunteers every time, most recently between November 2009 and May 2010. The vandals have been removing brush, scraping out blazes, dislodging steps and displacing scree stone into the area where steps were installed. Anyone who may have seen this activity or witnesses it in the future is asked to immediately contact the NY-NJ Trail Conference (firstname.lastname@example.org, (201) 512-9348) or the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (email@example.com, (304) 535-6331).
Bear Mountain – Relocation
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.
Cat Rocks to Telephone Pioneers Shelter – Relocation
Volunteers from the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference have recently completed a short relo between Cat Rocks and Telephone Pioneers Shelter. This relo adds switchbacks to a steep hill, and has increased the distance of this section by 0.2 mile.
CONNECTICUT “River Walk” along the Housatonic River -- impassable (north of Kent between “South Gate” and “Swift’s Bridge”/Dawn Hill Road). This entire section is to be avoided. (AMC-CT 9/12/11)
Macedonia Brook (just north of Conn. 341/Kent) - very high. Although the bridge is intact, the open fields are somewhat flooded, particularly on the north side. (AMC-CT 9/12/11)Guinea Brook (just north of Conn. 4/Cornwall Bridge) -- detour required. Stepping stones at Guinea Brook crossing (immediately north of Conn. 4) have washed away, creating hazardous conditions. Use the “high water bypass” or the Mohawk Trail, or continue S on RT 4 to the Breadloaf Mountain parking area, take blue trail to rejoin AT. (AMC-CT 9/12/11)Significant erosion has been reported in Connecticut, most notably north of Hatch Brook.(AMC-CT 9/12/11)Falls Village Trail N of the Falls Village ‘iron bridge” to the Great Falls parking area -- flooded. Use Housatonic River Road. (AMC-CT 9/12/11)Brassie Brook - usually three small stream crossings, reportedly now is one large one. (AMC-CT 9/12/11)Sages Ravine Campsite -- The bridge crossing to campsite is out. It is possible to ford the stream into the campsite. The crossing at the “State line” is possible, but requires fording. At both locations, the current has been reported as being very strong. (AMC-CT 9/12/11)
MASSACHUSETTS Overall – The A.T. in Massachusetts is generally in good shape in the wake of Hurricane Irene, with the exceptions noted below. Water is plentiful at all overnight sites (AMC Berkshire report 9/3/11)
Connecticut border to Jug End Trail - conditions between are not known first hand at this time, but probably not extensively damaged. (AMC Berkshire report 9/3/11)The Mt. Everett summit road - Closed at the lower gate until further notice. (AMC Berkshire report 9/3/11)
Jerusalem Road – VANDALISM ALERT
A car parked at this road crossing was found vandalized (windows smashed with rocks) on November 12. If possible, ask at Tyringham post office about potentially safer overnight parking nearby.
Sheffield, between Rt 7 and Kellogg Rd, trail is still under 10"-12" of water. Even though the river level has dropped, the adjacent land that the trail is on takes quite a while to drain. Recommend a road walk: (Northbounders): South on Rt 7 to Kellogg Rd, East on Kellogg to T-intersection with Boardman St. AT continues East (Northbound) up the hill from this intersection. (9/3/11)Wilcox South Shelter has a 3" hole in the roof. Repairs expected as soon as weather conditions allow. Shelter is still useable, as is the smaller historic shelter at the same overnight site. (9/3/11)Connecticut border to Jug End Trail conditions between are not known first hand at this time, but probably not extensively damaged. The Mt Everett summit road is closed at the lower gate until further notice.Water is plentiful at all overnight sites.
VERMONT Green Mountain National Forest CLOSED Due to the extensive damage caused by Hurricane Irene, the Green Mountain National Forest (GMNF) has been CLOSED until further notice. This closure covers the entire A.T. through Vermont (except for the northernmost section through the town of Norwich) and order prohibits the public, including A.T. thru-hikers, from going into or being upon any part of the Green Mountain National Forest. Fines could be issued for violation of this order.
For the most up to date information on the status of the closure, click here.
NEW HAMPSHIRE White Mountains National Forest:
While the Forest opened on August 29, certain areas, roads, sites, or trails will remain closed due to hazardous conditions, high water, wash outs, unsafe bridges or other impediments as a result of Hurricane Irene. Heed signing and visitwww.fs.fed.us/r9/forests/white_mountain/conditions/index.php and http://www.outdoors.org/ for updates. More updates from hikers may be available at http://www.trailsnh.com/.
Visitors who choose to recreate after heavy rains should expect to encounter hazardous conditions. Heavy rains can create swollen rivers and streams. Some trails may be impassable due to high water. Never enter high water areas or approach fast moving water. Keep your distance. Turn back if necessary.
Highland Lodge – Bretton Wood, NH
Re-opened 8/31, but access will be limited to the Twin Mountain/Bretton Woods side (via Route 302 from the West) for the foreseeable future due to extensive damage to Route 302 east of Highland Lodge in Crawford Notch State Park.
Cascade Brook Bridge out
The bridge on the A.T. (also known as the Cascade Brook Trail) over Cascade Brook was washed out during a spring 2011 flood. A short distance upstream from the former bridge site there is a rock hop crossing suitable at low to moderate water levels.
During high water, the rock hop crossing is not safe and hikers should seek alternate routes. For northbounders, it is recommended to leave the A.T. at Lonesome Lake and take the blue-blazed Lonesome Lake trail to the Pemi Trail (at the Lafayette place campground) and rejoin the A.T. just before going under Franconia Parkway (I-93/NH Rt.3). For southbounders, take the Pemi Trail after going under the Parkway to the Lonesome Lake Trail.
See the A.T. New Hampshire-Vermont guidebook and map #3 or AMCís White Mountain Guide and Franconia-Pemigewasset map #2.
MAINE Access to Mt. Abraham - The Rapid Stream road into Abraham from Kingfield is gone, it is being repaired only to the last house which is 3 miles short of the trailhead, the twin bridges are gone too. (MATC report 9/3/11)
Gulf Hagas side trail – Footbridge washed out
The Gulf Hagas Brook bridge was washed out by spring high water. This does not affect the A.T. itself, but does affect access to a popular side trail. A replacement bridge will likely not be installed until fall (at the earliest). Until the bridge is replaced, hikers using the Gulf Hagas side trail will need to wade across the brook. Please cross at the designated ford rather than trampling brush up and down the banks of the stream.Baxter State Park – Hurricane Irene closures Currently, all Park campsites and trails are open. Scattered downed trees and standing water may be encountered on Park trails. More information is available at http://www.baxterstateparkauthority.com/.