Last updated on 1st of Feb 2021
Many people yearn to get back out exploring the world. People are wonder if they should start booking flights to far flung destinations (like the very cool GR R2!). We have created this guide as a definitive guide about hiking in these countries, both if you live there or if you are planning on traveling there. All of this begs the question: Wen Hike?!
Note of Warning: While we have tried to be as accurate as possible, please check with the provided links or government website for the definitive rules.
All of the UK is currently under a lockdown with the spread of new variants. Thankfully they are getting vaccines out quickly, as wether you agree with them or not, they are the thing that will get life back to relative normality. Current restrictions are due to last until at least the 8th of March in England, what will happen then is uncertain. It’s likely that Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales will be on a similar timeline.
Arriving in the UK from abroad
You must self-isolate for 10 days, and you must provide a negative coronavirus test and a passenger locator form. See here for more detail.
Restrictions in the USA can vary by state, county and city. About 17 states have some businesses closed, and 33 states have next to no restrictions, with 10 not requiring masks to be worn in public, 36 having the requirement. 6 states currently have stay-at-home requirements. For hiking this means you will need to research state by state. Check out this New York Times article to see restrictions on a state by state level.
Pacific Crest Trail: PCTA did issue permits for hiking in 2021, but they openly stated that local or state level contacts might impact the trail. They also state that trail maintenance could be an issue as teams could not be as active in 2020 due to COVID. TL;DR: You can hike but it could be difficult.
Appalachian Trail: ATC have said that it is possible to hike the AT in 2021 but they are recommending against it. Some shelters are closed, but, most of the time, you can just camp nearby. There was even some talk that they would not recognise 2000 milers this year or issue trail tags, though this is not certain. TL;DR You can hike but stay safe, some shelters might be closed, and it could be challenging.
Continental Divide Trail: CDTC say they are not running their shuttle service to Crazy Cook and that they are not maintaining water caches so the trail will be extremely difficult to hike, if not impossible or very dangerous.
Arriving in the USA from abroad
As of the 26th of January, all persons arriving in the USA via an airline must provice a negative COVID-19 viral test taken within 3 days of travel, or show a document from a licensed health care provider of having recovered from COVID-19 in the proceeding 90 days. For more information check out this article, you’ll need to select your country.
Europe the situation is bit more restricted than in the US, and similar enough to UK. Many countries have are in full lockdown and you often require a full test on landing followed by a period of quarantine. Trails like the Tour du Mont Blanc (that pass through multiple countries) will be extremely challenging. Vaccine rollout is also slower in Europe so there might be a lag before we see the same full scale opening as the UK or US.
Germany is currently under a lockdown until the 14th of February and it is likely to be extended further. Currently there is restrictions in place for traveling to Germany from certain countries. Hiking is currently not possible as you would not be able abide by the current restrictions.
France is currently under a lockdown with a curfew in place from 6pm to 6am. Border controlls to non-EU countries have been imposed and you are required top provide a negative PCR test within 72 hours of of arrival. Due to the curfew, hiking is currently not possible.
Italy is currently leaving lockdown. Italy didn’t see the same post Christmas surge in cases that was seen elsewhere in Europe, allowing them to leave lockdown sooner now. Despite this, hiking long distances will still be challenging but not impossible.
Ireland is currently in lockdown with restrictions on entering the country, mandatory quarantine and restrictions on movement around the Island. The current restrictions are set to stay in place until at least the 5th of March and even then they will only be eased slightly. Hiking is currently not possible, but hopefully that but June hiking will be possible.
Arriving in Europe from Abroad
Currently there is restrictions traveling to Europe from outside of the EU. If you do, you will need a negative test before you leave, and will likely have to quarantine for 10-14 days though it can vary depending on the region. Once you have finished quarantine, again there could be some restrictions on movement depending on the country in question.