Fees & Passes


Entrance Fee

The Appalachian Trail is free for all to enjoy. No fees, memberships, or permits are required to walk on the Trail. However, the A.T. passes through numerous state and national parks, forests and public lands, a few of which charge fees or require permits or reservations to park or to stay overnight in shelters or campsites. Below is a list of where some permits and fees are charged.

Overnight Fees and Permits


Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Tennessee/North Carolina)

  • Backcountry permits: Permits are required for all overnight stays in the backcountry. Hikers who meet the park’s unique definition of an A.T. 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 an A.T. Thru-hiker permit for $40 (valid for 38 days from the date issued, provides 8 days/7 nights to hike through the park). Those backpacking on the A.T. who do not meet the park's definition of an A.T. thru-hiker must obtain a General Backcountry Permit. Camping is permitted only at designated backcountry campsites and shelters. Backcountry Permits are available here. All those staying overnight in the backcountry are required to have a printed copy of their permit. For more information, call 865.436.1297.
  • Shelter Policy: Camping is permitted only at designated backcountry campsites and shelters. Park regulations require that General Backcountry Permit holders stay inside the shelter(s) they have reserved. Those backpackers who meet the park’s definition of an A.T. thru-hiker do not have to determine the shelters they will utilize prior to their hike. In order to minimize impact, A.T. thru-hikers are encouraged to use the shelter if there is space. If the shelter is full, A.T. thru-hikers are authorized to tent in the area around the shelter. Only A.T. thru-hikers are permitted to tent in the area around the shelter so they must give up space inside the shelter to those holding General Backcountry Permits regardless of the time of day the backpackers arrive at the shelter.

Shenandoah National Park (Virginia)

  • Backcountry Permits: While there is no charge for permits, they are required of all thru-hikers and overnight backcountry travelers. The permit can be obtained at visitor center stations during business hours. Permits for Appalachain Trail long-distance hikers are available by self-registration on the Trail at the park's north and south entry points. If you are planning your visit in advance, permits are also available by mail from Park Headquarters (please allow two full weeks for delivery). For more information, visit Shenandoah National Park's Backcountry Camping - Getting a Permit.
  • Shelter Policy: Two types of structures are near the A.T. - day-use ("shelters") and overnight-use ("huts"). Camping at or near day-use shelters is prohibited. Huts are available to long-distance hikers (those spending at least three consecutive nights in SNP) as space is available. Tenting at huts is permitted in designated campsites; all huts within the park have campsites available.

Green Mountain National Forest/Green Mountain Club (Vermont)

  • The Green Mountain Club (GMC) maintains the A.T. from the Vermont/Massachusetts state line to Vt. 12. Fees are collected at some high-use campsites in this area to help defray field-program costs and support shelter and Trail maintenance along the A.T. in Vermont. A GMC caretaker may be present at other sites, but a fee is not charged. No permits or reservations are required.


White Mountain National Forest/Appalachian Mountain Club (New Hampshire)

  • Campsites: Overnight fees are charged at some Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC)-maintained campsites in the White Mountain National Forest, though all are available on a first-come, first-served basis. A work-for-stay option may be available to thru-hikers at the tentsites and shelter sites that have caretakers. Huts: Reservations are required for the AMC-run huts. Contact AMC to verify the huts' season-opening and closing dates as well as rates. Thru-hikers can sometimes make a reservation "on-the-fly" by having a caretaker radio ahead. A work exchange at the huts is sometimes possible. For more details, visit the Appalachian Mountain Club's thru-hiker page.

Baxter State Park (Maine)

  • All persons entering Baxter State Park, by car or on foot, must register at one of the three entry gates or at the nearest campground. There is a camping fee for all visitors staying overnight in the park. Overnight space is limited; reservations are recommended. For more information, please check out Baxter State Park's fees.

Last updated: May 10, 2023

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Mailing Address:

Appalachian Trail Park Office
P.O. Box 50

Harpers Ferry, WV 25425


304 535-6278

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