Trail Safety

Report an Incident

Updated February 13, 2023

While the Appalachian Trail is a relatively safe place to visit, that does not mean that there are not potential dangers while you are hiking or camping. If you see something, say something — this will help us keep the A.T. as safe as possible for all visitors.

Here are five ways to report a problem, including incidents related to bear activity.

1. Anytime you or another Trail visitor needs medical attention or a law-enforcement response, including threats to your personal safetyCALL 911 IMMEDIATELY, even if you are uncertain if it is a crime.

DIAL 911


2. If you are not in immediate danger but witness suspicious behavior, have a bad feeling about someone, observe vandalism or resource damage on the A.T., or just feel like something should be reported, contact the National Park Service 24-Hour Dispatch/Communications Center to inform them of the situation: 1.866.677.6677.


DIAL 1.866.677.6677


3. If you are in a situation where you need an immediate response but are unable to make a phone call or might put yourself at risk by making a call, text a friend and ask them to call 911 with your exact location, state, and nature of the incident. If you do not have the ability to call or send a text, send an email with as much information as possible (who, what, when, where, and why) to [email protected], but be aware an email will not trigger an immediate law enforcement
response, especially on weekends or after hours.

Emails to this address will go directly to the National Park Service (NPS) and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC).

NPS or ATC may share this report, including your name and contact information, with law-enforcement officials, land-managing agencies, and Trail Clubs involved in the management of the A.T.

[email protected]

4. After completing step 1, 2, and/or 3: if you are able to submit a detailed report about an incident, such as damage to the Trail, bad behavior at campsites/on trail, a missing or delayed hiker, or a person(s) of concern, please complete and submit the A.T. Incident Report Form. This provides more context about the situation, potential witnesses, and other details that could help with an investigation.


Even if you feel this might have been a one-time situation, law enforcement might have had other reports that we can connect to yours. This could help identify and address a pattern of harassing, threatening, or other concerning behavior.

5. Bear encounters on the Trail. Did you have an encounter with a bear on the Appalachian Trail? Please complete the Bear Incident Report Form if a bear:

  • Entered a campsite or shelter area.
  • Attempted to (or did) steal food.
  • Was aggressive toward you, another hiker or a pet.
  • Damaged property.
  • Was following you while you were hiking.
  • Was acting strangely.


If you are not sure whether to report something, we always recommend submitting a report for any suspicious or potentially dangerous situations, even if it turns out to be nothing. These reports help our law-enforcement partners identify problem areas requiring more attention. If you would prefer the incident form in a downloadable, printable format (PDF), click here.