Barney Fife does not patrol the AT to make sure you're OK. There are no toilet paper vending machines, water fountains or privacy curtains.
The AT is followed by imperfect people through an imperfect environment.
An increasingly common question about hiking the AT goes like this, "I was wondering if carrying guns on the Appalachian Trail is legal because [insert reason here]. Can I?"
I have two daughters and six grandchildren. They live in tougher, more dangerous places than the environs of the Appalachian Trail. I, personally, suggest that they learn self-defense techniques and carry pepper spray. You might disagree. That's OK. We all live in imperfect environments. We need to be prepared for the unexpected, wherever we are.
You might want to carry a firearm on the trail or you might not want anybody but law enforcement officers to be armed. That's OK.
If you need specific legal counsel about carrying guns
please contact an attorney. The information presented here is subject to change and might not be accurate.
(In other words, if you choose to pop a handgun in your backpack and you're busted, please don't tell the authorities we led you to believe packing a weapon was as simple as carrying concealed Cheetos.)
Roughly 40% of the Appalachian Trail is on land owned by the national park system. Even if you have enough gun permits to wallpaper the Taj Mahal, you are not allowed to discharge a firearm on federal land, except for highly restricted hunting.
The AT passes through fourteen separate states. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the questions about who can carry what weapon where.
There are probably exceptions (why else would God have created lawyers?) but, generally speaking, a weapon in a backpack that is not openly visible is a concealed weapon. To carry a concealed weapon you must comply with each state's individual laws.
If you have a valid conceal/carry weapon permit issued by a particular state, you may click on the link below to see which other states might honor your permit.
We urge you not to ignore laws pertaining to concealed weapons. You might find yourself in life-changing trouble.
Tags: Appalachian Trail, Hiking, Hiking Gear, Camping Gear, guns appalachian trail, concealed guns on appalachian trail, gun permits appalachian trail, carry permits appalachian trail, and gun permit reciprocity appalachian trail
Thinking of attempting a thru-hike of the AT? Read Doctor Grumpy's Ten Tips for Appalachian Trail Thru-Hikers before you hit the Trail.
Adventurers pursuing the title "Appalachian Trail Thru-Hiker" leave home to walk in the woods for months and to attend Trail Days in Damascus, Virginia!
The best trail mix is healthy, tasty and beneficial. So is this Appalachian Trail advice that will inspire you and empower you to thrive the Trail.
When you have a moment, hike the Appalachian Trail online with us. We'll take you to places you haven't seen & introduce you to hikers you haven't met. Yet.