Appalachian Trail reopens for day hikers

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Parts of the Appalachian Trail are open again, but there’s still guidance to follow amid COVID-19. 

Appalachian Trail Conservancy President and CEO Sandi Marra said the trail is open in multiple areas, but there are a few closures, primarily in New England states.

With the relaxation of some coronavirus restrictions in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, she said day hikers can resume walking sections in this region. However, it’s critical that hikers observe social distancing and other precautions.

“If you’ve got the mask, you don’t need to wear it all the time,” Marra said. “But if you’re coming into a large group or see a large group coming toward you, and you want to stop and talk and probably can’t do the 6 feet, then have that mask ready to put on.”

If you go to the Appalachian Trail this weekend, consider more than just one trailhead to access.

“Really think through where you’re going to be accessing the trail,” Marra said. “If you drive onto a lot that’s already at overflow conditions, we suggest that you have a Plan B or a Plan C for access.”

Thru-hikers — who hike long-distance or end-to-end — should continue to stay off the trail, as shelters and privies are still closed.

“It might really truly be best to just postpone that thru-hike to 2021,” Marra advised.