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Trail Updates

Keep up-to-date with the latest conditions on the Trail.
Report Trail conditions: [email protected]

trailwide updates



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STORM DAMAGE IN NORTHERN NEW ENGLAND
(11/3/2017) Portions of the A.T. in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont may have been impacted by the recent storm that caused widespread damage. No reports have yet come in; agencies and volunteers will be conducting damage assessments as they are able. Until then, trail visitors are advised to use caution in planning hikes, and be prepared to encounter blowdowns or eroded sections of Trail that may slow travel or create hazards. Additional rainfall combined with strong winds may bring down more trees as soils are already saturated; stream crossings may be hazardous or impassible. As always, carry a map and compass in case a section of the trail is impassible or a bridge is washed out, and be ready to turn back. Report any damage to [email protected]il.org.
 
 
TRAIL CLOSURE DUE TO FIRE ON KINSMAN RIDGE TRAIL IN NEW HAMPSHIRE
(Updated 11/3/2017) See New Hampshire section below for more information.
 


(10/4/2017) CAUTION ADVISED IN GEORGIA & NORTH CAROLINA POST HURRICANE IRMA

While most areas with hurricane damage have been cleared, hikers are advised that hazards will remain even if all the blowdowns have been cleared.  It takes a long time for conditions to stabilize after a serious weather event like Irma. Be very careful in choosing places to camp, including at or in shelters. Look up and around out to a couple of tree lengths in distance to be sure your shelter or campsite is not threatened by broken limbs, widow makers or leaning or damaged trees.


ATC strongly recommends a bear canister for storing food on your A.T. hike (and so does the Nantahala National Forest)

(1/12/2017-present)  The ATC and Nantahala Ranger District strongly recommend carrying a bear canister—constructed with solid, non-pliable material and designed to resist bears—to store your food and smellables on the A.T. Bear canisters provide an effective alternative to hanging food bags.

An excellent resource for black bear related information can be found at http://www.sierrawild.gov/. Examples of recommended bear canisters can be found here

Recent bear activity in:

Nantahala Ranger District (8/24/17), See NC section, below, for details.
New York (5/23/17), (8/16/17) See NY section, below, for details.
Shenandoah National Park (10/7/17)
Massachusetts (6/29/17) See MA section, below, for details.
Vermont (6/29/17) See VT section, below, for details.
Southwest Virginia (7/12/17) See Southwest Virginia section, below, for details.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP) (10/4/17) See GSMNP section, below, for details.
Georgia (8/16/17) See GA section, below, for details.

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Seasonal/regional droughts—Dry water sources and fire danger
(10/7/2017) Check the U.S. Drought Monitor for the latest conditions ​to get general sense of conditions in the area you are planning a hike.

Dry water sources that are reported to the ATC will be updated, below, in their respective states—these ​may account for only a fraction of the water sources that may actually be dry due to the low frequency of reports. Local Trail Maintaining Clubs, Trail Registers (at the shelters), Trailhead kiosks, and crowdsourced apps are additional places to look for current Trail conditions including water sources.

Although we are not currently aware of fire bans along the A.T., fire danger is high in many areas. Fires have broken out recently in at least two states.

Only use designated fire rings and always extinguish campfires completely until ashes are cool to the touch. Use extreme care when using stoves, when smoking, or when creating any kind of flames. More fire safety tips can be found on our website at www.appalachiantrail.org/campfiresafety.

​trail updates by state

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Georgia

Unicoi Gap - Vandalism
(09/06/17) Theft of windshield wipers and a car battery reported occurring here on 9/5/17. The owner of one car was an overnight hiker; it is not known how long the other vehicle was parked.

Bears in Georgia—Respect the Wildlife
(08/16/17) Nimblewill Gap to Hightower Gap, including Black Gap Shelter, Springer Mountain Shelter, Hawk Mountain Campsite and Shelter: Hikers are advised to be bear aware since black bears in the area are exhibiting behavior that they have been habituated to human food. In addition to following the ATC recommendation to carry a bear canister, hikers should never leave packs unattended, should store food and other "smellables" in bear boxes provided, and are advised to hang packs on bear cables at shelters so they are not carried away.

Bear canisters seasonally required for camping between Jarrard Gap and Neel Gap
(unknown date - present) A new U.S. Forest Service rule requires approved bear-resistant storage containers for overnight camping on a 5-mile stretch of the A.T. in the Chattahoochee National Forest between Jarrard Gap and Neel Gap, between March 1 and June 1 each year. This stretch is located between points 26.7 and 31.7 miles north of the southern terminus of the A.T. at Springer Moutain, Georgia, and includes Woods Hole Shelter, Slaughter Creek Campsite, and Blood Mountain Shelter. “Bear canisters” should be used to store food, food containers, garbage and toiletries. For more information, call the Chattahoochee - Oconee National Forest at (770) 297-3000.


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North Carolina

Bear-Proof Canisters Strongly Recommended on Nantahala Ranger District
(8/24/2017) Due to an increase in close and serious bear encounters in Panthertown and along the Appalachian Trail, the Nantahala Ranger District is strongly recommending that backcountry campers use bear-proof containers for all food and scented items.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Water source update
(02/27/17) Info on the status of water sources in the Smokies: 

All springs reported as flowing

Shelters in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Bear activity and closures 
(6-21-17 - Present) Bear activity has been reported at various shelters in the park. Hikers must use the food storage cables provided at all backcountry campsites in the park. Frequently shelters or campsites are closed or on a ​caution list when bear activity becomes especially problematic.


Backcountry Permit Fees
(2/1/13 - Present) As of February, 2013, a backcountry permit must be obtained for overnight stays before entering the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and a $4 per person fee will be required for each night in the backcountry. Backcountry permits can be obtained up to 30 days in advance. Hikers who meet the definition of an Appalachian Trail thru-hiker (those who begin and end their hike at least 50 miles outside the park and only travel on the A.T. in the park) are eligible for a thru-hiker permit of $20 (valid for 38 days from the date issued for an up to 8 day hike through the Park). Permits are available at www.smokiespermits.nps.gov. You may also obtain a permit in person at the park’s Backcountry Office (at the Sugarlands Visitor Center near Gatlinburg, TN) or over the phone; with permits issued by fax, mail or email. Hikers staying overnight in the backcountry are required to have a printed copy of the permit.

For more information, visit www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/backcountry-camping.htm or call (865) 436-1297.

Davenport Gap (Tenn. 32/N.C. 284,eastern boundary of Great Smoky Mountains National Park) – Vehicle break-ins and car thefts
(1/3/16 - Present) Do not park overnight: This location has a history of vandalism with car thefts reported as recently as 1-3-16. Park at Big Creek Ranger Station in seasons when rangers are present.

For a full list of road and facility closures and warnings throughout the park, click here. Weather-related road and facility closures may change throughout the day. For updated road and weather information please call (865) 436-1200. Once you hear a voice, dial extension 631 for road information or extension 630 for a weather forecast.  Click here  for more information about bears in the backcountry.

North Carolina & Tennessee Border 

Water source update
(02/​27/17) Info on the status of water sources in NC/TN border: 

Unknown at this time

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Tennessee

Watuaga Dam - Bears Active in Area
(5/17/16-present) Hikers should use caution near Watauga Dam as bears are active in this area; hikers should be alert for and keep a respectful distance from bear(s) with cubs.
 
Watauga Lake Shelter - Closed
(4/15/16-present) Watauga Lake Shelter closed to all entry due to bear activity.

No picnicking, lingering or overnight camping. Hiking the Appalachian Trail only. BEARS ACTIVE IN THIS AREA. Please continue through the area without stopping. Closure Order: National Forest System lands Oliver Hollow Rd. to Wilbur Dam; closed until further notice.
 
US 19E - Parking not recommend
There is a long-standing recommendation by the local A.T. maintaining club to avoid parking at this location.
 

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Southwest Virginia

Mt. Rogers – Vehicle break-ins and thefts
(unknown date - Present) 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

Humpback Rocks - Bear Activity
(11/16/17) Bear activity has been reported in the vicinity of Humpback Rocks and Paul C. Wolfe Shelter, including an incident in which an animal stole a hiker's food. Hikers should exercise extra caution when storing food overnight, keep dogs on leash, and avoid solo hiking and camping if possible in this area.

Pine Swamp Branch shelter temporarily closed due to overhead hazards
(03/21/17 - present) Pine Swamp Branch A.T. shelter is located north of Pearisburg, Virginia (654.7 miles from Springer). The shelter, and a 300’ radius around the shelter, is temporarily closed to overnight use due to multiple standing dead trees caused by gypsy moths. 

Hikers: Please mark your guidebooks and plan to camp elsewhere. This shelter closure is for your safety. Workarounds and more information to navigate this area can be found here.

Shenandoah National Park 

Temporary Camping Closure due to bear activity -- Rap Rap Parking to Turk Gap Parking
(10/7/17) Overnight backcountry camping along the A.T. is closed in the south district from Rip Rap Parking to Turk Gap Parking, roughly Skyline Drive milepost 90 - 94.2. 
Important reminder!! Be sure to keep a "clean" campsite. Be aware of food scraps and smells that may attract bears and other animals to packs and to tents. For more information on bear safety: https://www.nps.gov/shen/learn/nature/bear_safety.htm.

High Fire Danger
(10/7/2017) Please remember that campfires are always prohibited in Shenandoah's backcountry except in park-constructed fireplaces. Throughout the park, please exercise extreme caution with camp stoves, cigarettes, and other things that could start a fire.  

Pinefield Hut - Problem Bear
(09/20/17) Hikers are advised to avoid Pinefield Hut (mile 895.8 north of Springer Mountain, GA) in the park's South District due to recent bear activities. Habituated bears have learned to associate tents and backpacks with food, so if you do stay there, be especially diligent about properly storing food and toiletries with scents, leaving no crumbs or wrappers in your tent or backpack, and do not leave your pack on the ground.

Mathews Arm Campground—Reopened
(09/13/17) Mathews Arm Campground (mile 952.7 north of Springer) reopened after rehabilitation construction project was completed on September 1, 2017.

Skyline Drive Updates
(1/1/15-present) Skyline Drive is a 2-lane scenic highway following the ridgecrest and traversing the length of the Park. It roughly parallel and frequently crosses the Appalachian Trail. It is open year round; however, the Drive may be temporarily closed on short notice for indefinite periods due to weather related conditions. For the most current Skyline Drive status, call (540) 999-3500, choose Option 1, and then Option 1. Park staff also post opening and closing information on Facebook and Twitter.

Park Facilities
(1/1/15-present) Click here for the Park's most updated facility schedule.  


Northern Virginia

Water Source Update
(02/27/17) Water source updates for Northern Virginia:

Unknown at this time


Snickers Gap/Va. 7 area parking notice
(4/22/16) Hikers are cautioned against parking on the shoulders of VA 679 if the VA 679 parking lot is full - vehicles parked on either shoulder will be towed. Alternate parking is available nearby at the intersection of VA 7 and VA 601, where a rather large parking lot is located. If your car is towed, contact the Clarke County Communications Center at (540) 955-1234. 

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West Virginia

No updates at this time.

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Maryland

Dahlgren Backpackers Campground—​Closed for the season
(11/2/17)  The Dahlgren Backpackers Campground seasonal bathroom and showers operated by South Mountain Recreation Area are closed for the season, although portable toilets are in place. A frost-free spigot is available. The facility usually re-opens by the first week of April, but timing is weather-dependent.

Water source update
(7/25/17) Info on the status of water sources in MD: 

Crampton Gap Shelter: reported low/nonexistent—water located .25 miles south at Gathland State Park

Pen Mar - Parking Pass Available
(Updated 9/29/2017) An advance parking pass is now available for overnight parking at PenMar. It is not required, but is strongly recommended for those leaving their vehicle for more than a couple of nights. Here's how to get the pass: 

Click here to email Pam Boyd at the Washington County Parks and Facilities Dept. Be prepared to provide the following information:

(1) make and model of your vehicle.
(2) registered owner's name.
(3) tag information.
(4) dates the vehicle will parked.

You will receive a "Do Not Tow" pass as an attachment that must be printed and posted in your vehicle so local police will know that the vehicle has been registered. For more information, call (240) 313-2700 Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (reduced hours ​during winter months).

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Pennsylvania

PA 645 - Vandalism report
(10/17/17) A vehicle was broken into and packs stolen at the trailhead parking area here.

Pine Grove General Store​ Reduced hours
(11/2/17) The store, located in Pine Grove Furnace State Park, is open 7 days a week during the summer season, but now has reduced hours.

Pine Grove Furnace State Park—Ironmaster's Mansion
(5/10/17) The Ironmaster's Mansion (hostel) is open for the season. Contact Ironmaster's Mansion for details.

Boiling Springs—Allenberry Inn
(5/10/17) Allenberry Resort has reopened, however they are not offering a special rate for hikers.

Water source update
(5/10/17) Info on the status of water sources in PA: 

Water faucet at Kirkridge Shelter (Fox Gap) has been turned on for the season;

Port Clinton—Trailhead parking closure
(8/16/16 - present) The parking lot at the corner of Blue Mountain Road and PA 61—on PA Game Commission property—is no longer available for access to the A.T. It is blocked and signed 'No Parking.' A nearby parking lot directly off PA 61 on Park Service Lands remains a viable option.

Pine Grove Furnace State Park – Parking rules
(4/26/16-present) 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. 

Caledonia State Park – Parking rules
(4/26/16-present) Caledonia State Park now requests that those parking overnight at the parking area on Rt. 30 register at the park office. For more information, contact the park at (717) 352-2161.  

Lehigh Gap to Little Gap – CAUTION - Remedial activities in progress
(4/9/15-present) Remedial activities associated with the revegetation of Blue Mountain are currently being conducted near the A.T. between Lehigh Gap and Little Gap as part of the Palmerton Zinc Pile Superfund Site. The Appalachian Trail and blue-blaze Winter Trail will remain open during these activities. Occasional truck traffic will occur on the administrative access road that parallels the A.T. Hikers are advised to stay on the A.T. and not use the road. 

Pennsylvania Game Commission
(1/7/16-present) Fluorescent Orange Requirement Nov. 15 - Dec 15: On state game lands in Pennsylvania (much of the A.T. between the Susquehanna River and Delaware Water Gap--roughly the northern 2/3 of the state), all hunters and non-hunters are required to wear at least 250 square inches of fluorescent orange material on the head, chest and back combined, or a fluorescent orange hat, from Nov. 15 to Dec. 15 (except on Sundays). The orange material must be visible from all angles (360 degrees). For more information about hunting ssafety along the A.T. visit www.appalachiantrail.org/hunting.  

Camping Regulations: Only thru-hikers (defined as those "walking the Appalachian Trail from point of beginning to an exit, which is not the place of beginning") may camp on Pennsylvania Game Commission lands, and these hikers must camp within 200 ft of A.T. and at least 500 ft from a spring, stream or public access area.

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New Jersey

Vernon—The St. Thomas Episcopal Church Hiker Hostel is closed
(05/24/17)The Church is closed for renovations under new ownership.

Water source update
(02/27/17) Info on the status of water sources in the NJ state: 

Unknown at this time

Vernon - Rt. 517
(5/6/16) Hikers are urged to obey the No Parking signs on Rt. 517. Parking along 517 is very limited and cars parked in the No Parking zone have been ticketed recently.

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New York

Shenandoah Tenting Area Alert - Water source contaminated (Pump Closed)
(11/3/2017) Hikers should not drink the water at the Shenandoah Tenting Area Well (at mile 1427.7 north of Springer Mountain, Georgia). Recent testing has indicated microbial contamination of the water supply. Bacteria, viruses, and parasites may be present which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and cramps. People with weakened immune systems, pregnant women, infants, young children, and older adults are at increased risk of illness. To protect the health and safety of Trail visitors, the pump and well have been shut off. The closure will last until appropriate corrective measures can be taken.

Harriman State Park – Problem Bear at Fingerboard Shelter
(08/16/17), (05/23/17) There have been recent reports of a regularly appearing bear at or near the Fingerboard Shelter (mile 1388.3 miles north of Springer). It has been observed obtaining food bags that may not have been hung properly (Your bear bag should be 12 feet from the ground, 6 feet from the trunk, and 6 feet from the limb from which it hangs). Or better yet, just use a bear canister.

Bear Mountain – Relocation
(4/9/2015-present) 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. 


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Connecticut

St. John's Ledges Parking Area Closed
(​07/31/17) The River Road in Kent, CT, beyond the St. John's Ledges parking lot (mile 1472.0 north of Springer Mtn.) has been closed to vehicular traffic. The A.T. remains open as usual for foot travel only. The closure will remain in effect until after the Labor Day weekend.

Water source update
(07-13-17) Info on the status of water sources in CT 

No updates at this time

Iron Bridge, Housatonic River - Now open to hikers
(5/11/16) The Iron Bridge across the Housatonic River at Falls Village is now open to motor vehicles and hikers.  It was closed for construction.

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Massachusetts

CheshireSt. Mary's Church (Hostel)
(07/25/17) St. Mary of the Assumption Church no longer allows hikers in the church hall overnight. It's open until 8pm for bathroom access, charging cell phones, etc. Hikers may tent on the grounds, though.

Shaker Campsite—regular bear activity
(06/29/17) The Shaker Campsite (mile 1538.2 north of Springer) sees regular bear activity. The bears have not been aggressive, but are not frightened away by human activity. Hikers are advised to immediately place their food and other odoriferous items into the bear box at the campsite upon arrival, and to prepare and cook food away from their tents.

Kay Wood Shelter, Mt. Wilcox South Shelter—bear activity
(06/29/17) In separate incidents, a bear attempted to get into tents where food was present at the Kay Wood (1565.7 miles north of Springer) and Mt. Wilcox South (1532.3 miles north of Springer) Shelters. Hikers are advised to immediately place their food and other odoriferous items into the bear box immediately upon arrival at the campsite, and to prepare and cook food away from their tents.

Water source update
(02/27/17) Info on the status of water sources in southern MA 

Unknown at this time

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Vermont

Kid Gore Shelter, Story Spring Shelter—bear activity
(06/29/17) In several incidents at Kid Gore (1625.0 miles north of Springer) and Story Spring (1629.6 miles north of Springer) Shelters, a bear has pulled down hiker food bags that were accessible as well as entered the shelter to get food bags hung there. Hikers using these sites are urged to hang food and other odor items (including cookware and cosmetics) out of the reach of these animals. The "PCT Method" is recommended as the most effective approach to hang your food. Bear canisters are the most effective approach to protecting bears from your food. Signs have been posted at these overnight sites informing hikers of the bear activity.

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New Hampshire

Temporary Trail Closure of portion of A.T. on Kinsman Ridge Trail
(Updated 11/3/17) A 3.3-mile section of the Kinsman Ridge Trail (from NH 112/Kinsman Notch trail north to the junction of the Gordon Pond Trail) was 
closed due to the Dilly wildfire burning in the area. The fire has been extinguished but the closure remains in effect until the end of the year while rehabilitation is being completed. 
 
Per Forest Order, access to the area has been restricted for the safety of the public. See the White Mountain National Forest alerts page for a map of the affected area and more information. 

Here's a description on how A.T. long-distance hikers can hike around this section:
 
Northbound:
From the A.T. crossing of NH Rt. 112 proceed 4.3 miles by road east bound towards the town of North Woodstock. Pick up the Gordon Pond Trail on the left (across from the closed Govoni's restaurant) and hike 5 miles on the Gordon Pond Trail to the intersection with  the A.T./ Kinsman Ridge Trail and proceed north from there.
 
Southbound:
 At the junction with the A.T. and the Gordon Pond Trail, turn left and hike 5 miles on the Gordon Pond Trail until the intersection with NH Rt. 112. Turn right on NH Rt. 112 and proceed 4.3 miles west by road until the crossing with the Appalachian Trail near the height of land in Kinsman Notch. Turn left on the A.T. southbound. 
 
 
​Please note:  The trail head for the Gordon Pond trail is on NH Rt. 112 and is 1.7 miles west of North Woodstock, NH. It is a lower used blue-blazed trail that begins on a private drive, follows old logging roads, crosses a brook several times, and may not be adequately blazed or signed. 

AMC Thru-Hiker Pass (providing discounts on A.T. campsites)
(05/23/17) A new program was introduced by the Appalachian Mountain Club for the 2017 season. Any A.T. thru-hiker or section-hiker who pays for one night at a fee campsite ($10) along the A.T. in the White Mountains is eligible for this pass, which is good for 2 weeks. It provides a 50% discount at any of the other 8 A.T. fee campsites through the White Mountains, and some other perks. More info can be found here.

Water source update
(02/27/17) Info on the status of water sources in NH: 

Unkown at this time

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Maine 

Appalachian Trail Visitor Center in Monson, ME
(05/23/17) Everyone is welcome. Long-distance hikers are able to obtain information about the 2017 Baxter State Park hiker permit. Staff are available to help plan logistics for the 100 Mile Wilderness and Katahdin. Trail conditions posted daily. Community and day hike information also available.

Hours: 8-11, 1-5 every day (June 7 to Oct 15)
Address: 5 Main Street, Monson, ME 04464
Phone: 207-766-7091 (active as of June 7)
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/monsonatvisitorcenter/
MonsonVC2017


Baxter State Park

(05/23/17) 2017 Appalachian Trail Long Distance Hiker Permit: A free A.T. long distance hiker permit will be required of all long distance A.T. hikers: Northbound Thru-Hikers (Nobos), Southbound Thru-Hikers (Sobos), Flip-Flop Thru-Hikers and Section-hikers.

Long distance A.T. hikers must obtain a permit card in person at Baxter State Park Headquarters or Katahdin Stream Campground when the A.T. (Hunt Trail) opens for hiking. Once hikers obtain a permit card they will need to have it stamped at the Katahdin Stream Ranger Station.

The number of AT-Hiker Permit Cards for 2017 are limited by a Baxter State Park quota: 3150 A.T. hikers. If all available permit cards have been issued for 2017, "The Birches" long distance hiker campsite will close for the year. Hikers may complete their hike by obtaining a Day Use Parking Reservation (DUPR) or campground reservation (cannot be ​processed via smartphone) and enter the Park through the Togue Pond Gate.

For more information, please visit the Baxter State Park webpage or refer to their recent announcement


Hikers staying overnight within the park boundary must camp at designated sites; reservations are ​necessary for overnight sites for all hikers except those who have arrived on foot walking more than 100 miles. (​Southbound thru-hikers should plan on making reservations for at least the night following their climb of Katahdin, and possibly the night before). All overnight hikers must pay a camping fee whether a reservation is obtained in advance or not. For more information about camping in the park and climbing Katahdin, visit www.baxterstatepark.org and the Baxter State Park Facebook page.

 

Kennebec Ferry Service
(4/17/17) The Kennebec River is the most formidable unbridged crossing along the entire A.T. Do not attempt to ford the river. Please use the ferry service. 2017 Kennebec Ferry schedule


Water source update
(​02/27/17) Water sources associated with the following landmarks have been reported dry

Unknown at this time


Access to Mt. Abraham - The Rapid Stream road damaged
(unknown date-present) It is being repaired only to the last house which is 3 miles short of the trailhead.