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 What We Do  

Core Functions

Trail Management and Support 

  • Trail Patrol
  • Trail Crews & Overseers
  • Cabin Crews
  • Shelter Crews

Community Engagement 

  • Hike Leadership
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Maps & Guidebooks
  • Fundraising & Public Relations
  • AT Communities

Education and Youth 

  • Classes & Workshops
  • Scout & Youth Experiences


  • Land Stewardship
  • Corridor Monitors
  • Naturalist Monitors


Trail management encompasses the on–the-ground stewardship performed by volunteers to maintain the Trail, its structures, its natural & cultural resources and educating on Trail use. It includes keeping the footpath clear of natural overgrowth and blowdowns; building and relocating sections of the footpath, building and repairing shelters and other structures, caring for overnight sites as well as educating Trail user in classrooms &  on-the-trail. 

Trail Crews & Overseers

Keeping the trails open and clear is the centerpiece of PATC's mission.    There are Trail Crews in each regional trail district......currently 14 different crews, each with scheduled worktrips monthly.   These volunteers perform some normal trail maintenance such as blowdowns & erosion or weed control as well as  large trail tasks, such as building new tread, bridges and major rehab projects.    All PATC trail crews welcome new members and are glad to help you learn the basics of trail maintenance......find more info on a worktrip near you & Get Involved.  

Trail Overseers are the heartbeat of PATC....volunteers who agree to take care of the routine maintenance on a specific section....usually 1 to 2 miles of trail, although distances may vary.   They clear vegetation, removing obstacles from the tread, controlling erosion, and ensuring that blazes and signage are clear and obvious. Trail overseers deserve all the credit for the club's excellent reputation among hikers and our trail partners.   Overseers usually visit their trail sections at least four times a year and get assistance from Trail Crews for big projects requiring major repairs.  Training is offered for basic techniques which most Overseers learn working with a Trail Crew.

Trail Patrol

The Trail Patrol, started in 1973, is the education and outreach section of PATC, with 75+ volunteers hiking the Maryland, Virginia, southern Pennsylvania, eastern West Virginia, and D.C. region.   For hikers, we are a visible, reassuring presence on the trails. We walk the trails throughout the year—rain, snow or shine—answering questions and offering help whenever needed.   We:

  • offer assistance and information to hikers and backpackers
  • help our fellow hikers understand how to enjoy the outdoors in a safe and responsible manner
  • report trail conditions to the PATC volunteers who maintain the region’s trails.
  • offer outdoor skills classes, including Backpacking, Hike Leadership, Leave No Trace outdoor ethics, CPR, and Backcountry First Aid.

PATC also deploys Ridgerunners and caretakers along high-use sections of the Trail to help hike and visitors on the trails.

We always welcome enthusiastic, outgoing volunteers who are looking for opportunities to assist others and help protect the environment that we share.   We welcome you to Get Involved.

Cabin Crews

Each of the PATC cabins has a Cabin Overseer who does regular maintenance & upkeep.  Cabin Work crews help the Overseer with larger maintenance projects.  the above mentioned duties. If you are new to cabin camping, joining a work crew is an excellent way to learn how to responsibly use a cabin, in addition to providing a valuable service to PATC. Most overseers visit their cabins 4-6 times a year resulting in about 150 cabin work trips annually, club-wide. Although many overseers have recruited an on-going "team", many others look for help by asking friends.
No experience is necessary and we welcome you to Get Involved

Shelter Crews

Along the Trails are a series of three-side shelters for backpackers and PATC maintains 45 Shelters which are generally spaced 6 to 20 miles apart along the length of the trail.   Are shelter are on the AT as well as the Tuscarora Trail and in the George Washington National Forest.   PATC assigns volunteer overseers to maintain the shelters throughout the year performing minor repair, painting, and general maintenance.   Shelter Crews help with major maintenance projects and new shelter construction.   No experience is necessary and we welcome you to Get Involved