A Message to All A.T. Hikers in 2021

In March 2020, America began to feel the first impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, which would upend almost every aspect of our daily lives. Eight months later, COVID-19 infection rates continue to rise and a widely distributed vaccine or treatment is still not available. We also find ourselves adapting to a constantly shifting political, social, and economic landscape. The world, in short, is characterized by uncertainty, and planning for the future is near impossible.

This uncertainty extends to the 2021 Appalachian Trail (A.T.) hiking season. Mandatory or voluntary quarantines are active in several A.T. states. Local, state, or federal closures and/or restrictions across the A.T. remain possible next year. And, the operations of Trailside businesses and service providers in 2021 remain uncertain.

Hiking the A.T. in 2021 will likely remain a logistical challenge underscored by health and safety risks. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) urges all hikers to stay local and exercise caution while so much uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic exists.

However, they know that many are planning long-distance journeys on the A.T. in 2021. To ensure hiker safety and health while on the A.T., they ask hikers to plan, prepare, and stay informed by undertaking the following:

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