PATC Now Offers an Online Membership Application!

Membership Dues

NEW Membership Form  |  Renewing Your Membership 

If you prefer to use snail mail, please download and print out this Membership Application, complete it,  and mail it back to the club.

If you need to, you can update your address under Member Services after logging on.

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you
as the sunshine into the trees. The winds will blow their freshness into you, and
the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.

John Muir

The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club is founded on volunteerism and public service to outdoorspeople in the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. This tradition goes back to November 1927, when the club was formed to survey and construct hundreds of miles of the Appalachian Trail, a 2,100-mile footpath following the crest of the Appalachian mountain chain. In the early days, making a contribution could be a challenge. Roads were not paved, and in many cases financing could be a challenge as this historic article shows. Volunteers could only spend a few hours each weekend building and marking the trail.

By the time Shenandoah National Park was created in 1937, PATC was already maintaining a network of trails in the region, and publishing the first maps and guidebooks. PATC also started constructing cabins and shelters for members and the hiking public during this period.

Since that time, PATC's trail region has grown to almost 1,000 miles of hiking trails, 28 cabins, and 30 shelters. As in 1927, the volunteer tradition endures - over 450 volunteers freely contribute their time and energy to keep the trails open and the shelters and cabins in good repair. PATC's maps and guidebooks are considered the most accurate sources in the world for information concerning trails in our hiking region.

However PATC's volunteer tradition now goes well beyond trail, cabin, and shelter maintenance. For example:

  • PATC has active Mountaineering and Ski Touring Sections.
  • PATC's Shenandoah Mountain Rescue Group (SMRG) watches out for the safety and well-being of missing hikers and outdoorspeople.
  • PATC's Trail Patrol and Appalachian Trail Ridgerunners maintain a presence on our hiking trails.
  • PATC hosts Appalachian Trail through-hikers, weekend backpackers, and day-hikers at the club's Blackburn Trail Center.
  • PATC purchases small parcels of land to protect hiking trailheads and viewsheds.
  • PATC has an active Conservation Committee focusing on issues that affect our trail region.
  • PATC maintains an active presence monitoring the land boundaries of the Appalachian Trail through the Corridor Monitoring program.
  • PATC leads hiking and backpacking trips, and hosts numerous events of interest to outdoorspeople in the Mid-Atlantic region.
  • PATC has five regional chapters where those further afield can participate in the club.

And what about our trail, shelter and cabin programs?

  • PATC's trail regions stretches over four states in the Mid-Atlantic U.S. - Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. This includes:
    - 240 miles of the Appalachian Trail
    - most of the trails in Shenandoah National Park
    - most of the trails in Rock Creek Park, Washington, D.C.
    - the 18-mile Bull Run/Occoquan Trail in Fairfax County
    - the Potomac Heritage Trail
    - trails in Great Falls Park and Sugarloaf Mountain
  • PATC resurrected, reopened, and currently maintains the 252-mile Tuscarora Trail, a spur trail connecting the Appalachian Trail in Virginia and Pennsylvania.
  • PATC is currently working on additional shelters in our trail region - one constructed in cooperation with Gallaudet University.
  • Three additional cabins are under development, including one being built using pioneer tools, building methods and materials.
  • PATC manages two weekly trail crews throughout the summer performing special labor-intensive projects in Shenandoah National Park and George Washington National Forest.
  • In 1998, PATC reopened over 500 miles of hiking trails in Shenandoah National Park after they were devastated by a major ice storm that closed the park for three months.
  • PATC works with nearly 70 government agencies on trail-related matters.
  • In 1998 alone, the volunteer effort expended just in trail service amounted to more than 35,000 hours (almost 17 man-years).

Your dollars also support this website, which provides:

  • A complete overview of our club and its monthly activities.
  • An interactive Trails Forum, List Service, and Chat Service.
  • An information gateway for outdoorspeople which includes informed and accurate write-ups on where to hike and backpack in our region.
  • The club's monthly newsletter.
  • Award-winning information on how to select backpacking equipment, which many visitors consider the finest information available in print, or on the Internet.
  • Close information links with Shenandoah National Park, through regular information postings in our Trails Forum on Skyline Drive closures, facility opening/closing dates, and other timely and current visitor information - as well as a Nature Observation Reporting Form that automatically forwards information directly to the park.
  • A fascinating overview of indian, early human and club history in our region.
  • Natural history information about our region.
  • A National Email Directory of hiking clubs in the U.S., and the largest and most complete set of hyperlinks to volunteer trail organizations in the U.S.
  • Landscape photography of our backcountry trail region.
  • An online store where maps, guidebooks, and publications can be securely ordered.

Nearly 4,000 people a week make the PATC website one of their favorite places to visit on the Internet. The press and other organizations agree - it's one of the most awarded "small sites" on the Internet. Spend some time on our site. All the activies and information described above can be found here. We continue to strive to make our site one of the best volunteer trail organization websites on the Internet.

The amazing thing is that all the activities listed above are performed by volunteers.  We do it for YOU, because we care about our outdoor region.

Still curious about what PATC is all about? Consider attending one of our free New Member meetings at PATC Headquarters in Vienna, VA. Our New Member meetings are scheduled every month, and they're staffed by existing PATC officer and committee chairpersons who can provide more details about the club and answer questions. The meetings are advertised in PATC Schedule of Events (note that the January meeting is typically skipped due to the holiday season).

Your membership will make you part of PATC's ongoing tradition of public service and volunteerism. We can't do it without your support and interest. Would your hiking experience be the same without PATC?

If you have the time, we would also encourage you to consider volunteering to take on responsibility for a trail, cabin, or shelter. Our hard working volunteer "overseers" are rewarded with attractive discounts from regional outdoor shops who support our volunteer efforts through these special in-store programs. For example, you can learn more about volunteer trail responsibilities by reading our Trail Overrseer handbook, by Clicking Here. Or if your free time is limited, consider joining us for a regularly scheduled activity. Activities are open to members and non-members alike. We especially enjoy meeting new people with an interest in the outdoors.

We hope you consider becoming a partner in our ongoing efforts, and joining a community of outdoorspeople that crosses all age groups. Please use our Online Membership Form, or download and print out this Membership Application and mail it today. Help us maintain the tradition, and create new trail history for future generations in the 21st century.