The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is asking hikers to wait until 2022.
Hikers hoping to spend 2021 hiking the Appalachian Trail are being asked to postpone their trips until 2022 by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, citing concerns over the spread of COVID-19. Health officials say that the COVID-19 risk comes not from the hike itself, but the travel to and from trail points across the country.
The ATC is actively discouraging long-distance hiking this year, and says it will not be distributing any AT Hangtags in 2021. Hangtags are plastic tags given to hikers that have registered their thru-hike with the ATC. Distribution of the hangtags helps the agency understand how many hikers are using the trail per year. Hangtags will not be distributed until the CDC has deemed the pandemic "under control," or a vaccine is more widely available to the general population.
ATC President and CEO, Sandra Marra, told CNN that "we're really basing our guidance on the best information we have. The guidance is based on science, on the states and the federal outline as to how we can proceed until everyone is fully vaccinated."
The Appalachian Trail is the longest hiking footpath in the world, covering over 2,180 miles of the Appalachian Mountains from Georgia to Maine.