As of June 4: What’s open and closed this week: Beaches, parks and trails in Southern California
Southern Californians, now facing a pandemic and widespread unrest, are still under orders to stay close to home and cover their faces outdoors. But they have far more fresh-air options than they did a few weeks ago, including recently reopened beaches, trails in the foothills, camping at Joshua Tree National Park and as of this week, easier access to state parks.
Parking lots at roughly half of the 280 California state parks, beaches and historic sites recently reopened after having been shut for more than two months to discourage overcrowding and spreading the coronavirus.
But there have been setbacks too. The popular Eaton Canyon waterfall and trails in Pasadena closed temporarily because of overcrowding Memorial Day weekend. Starting Saturday, visitors and hikers will need free timed tickets to enter the natural area and access the trail system. You’ll find advance tickets online at the L.A. County website.
Also, authorities in Ventura County on Friday shut down Paradise Falls in Wildwood Regional Park, Thousand Oaks. The Conejo Open Space Conservancy Agency said the falls will be closed until further notice.
As state and national park officials puzzle over how to reopen more public lands safely — and California continues to average more than 2,200 new COVID-19 cases and 55 deaths per day — here’s a quick look at what’s open and closed.
The reopenings come with strings attached, including required face coverings in many areas, forbidden gatherings and closed parking lots, piers and beach boardwalks; those details vary by city.
Get The Wild newsletter.
The essential weekly guide to enjoying the outdoors in Southern California. Insider tips on the best of our beaches, trails, parks, deserts, forests and mountains.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.
•In the city of Los Angeles, trails and parks are open with restrictions.
•In the Eastern Sierra’s Alpine, Inyo and Mono counties, the belated trout season opener was May 31, having been postponed from April 25.
•In L.A. County, officials have opened beach bike paths and some beach parking lots, including those at Dockweiler State Beach, Will Rogers State Beach and Zuma Beach.
•Throughout L.A., Orange and Ventura counties, beaches are open for active recreation (swimming, surfing, running, walking) but closed to sunbathing, napping and other passive activities. This list covers California’s beaches in detail.
In San Diego, officials have relaxed rules requiring only active use of the beaches. As of Tuesday, sitting and sunbathing are permitted.
L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti continues to warn that people shouldn’t congregate in groups larger than a single household, that maintaining physical distance is vital and that wearing a face covering outside while outside your home and car is required.
For the moment, L.A. County’s pandemic restrictions are largely shaped by the county’s Safer at Home order.
This list is designed to help readers keep track of beach restrictions.
If you do go outside for a walk, remember these tips for keeping safe. Local and state officials emphasize the need to take greater care in maintaining a distance of at least six feet from others.
Los Angeles city parks, beaches and markets
Though city golf courses and tennis courts have reopened, and parks are open, all city recreation centers, aquatic facilities, skate parks, playgrounds, baseball fields, soccer fields and basketball courts remain closed.
In the pandemic aftermath, what will hotels do differently?
In Griffith Park, trails reopened in early May, but much remains closed, including the Griffith Observatory, Travel Town, train and pony rides, the merry-go-round and some roads.
Elsewhere, the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in San Pedro remains closed, as is the Sherman Oaks Castle, the Expo Center in Exposition Park and the Silver Lake Meadow.
About 24 farmers markets are open in the city, including the Sunday Hollywood Farmers Market, after the city tightened safety and social-distancing requirements in early April.
Los Angeles County trails, beaches and parks
In L.A. County, as in Orange, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, beaches are open for active use — surfing, swimming, running and walking. But they are generally closed to sunbathing, gatherings larger than one household and organized sports.
County parks’ play and sports amenities, including playgrounds, also remain closed.
Parks officials noted on their website that “you can still enjoy time outdoors at your local park for...walking, jogging or leisure time outdoors for individuals or families. Social distancing is still required, and group gatherings are prohibited by the health order.”
The Safer at Home order from Los Angeles County Public Health officials prohibits public and private group events and gatherings. It also allows individuals and families to hike, walk and bike as long as they keep their distance from others.
The order also notes that if local entities (such as municipal governments) impose stricter limits, the county order does not supersede them. Although Los Angeles County has loosened limits on some retailers, indoor and outdoor playgrounds remain closed.
•The Catalina Chamber of Commerce notes that Californians are being urged to stay close to home, but also notes that many of the island’s parks, harbors and beaches are open with limited services, and that many restaurant have resumed sit-down dine-in service.
•Catalina Island Co. on May 14 reopened moorings to all boaters at Two Harbors and areas from White’s Landing to Emerald Bay. The Two Harbors General Store is open as is the West End Galley (for meals and drinks to go).
State parks in Southern California
This week, state officials reopened the parking lots to some 143 state parks, removing a tight restraint from a system that has been largely out of reach to most Californians since March.
After weeks of gradual closures, then gradual openings, just 27 state parks are entirely closed, including these four in L.A. County: the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve; Los Encinos State Historic Park; Pio Pico State Historic Park; and Watts Towers (Simon Rodia State Historic Park).
Before you visit any state park, check its status with the state.
The popular Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area in the Baldwin Hills area is open, as is its parking lot. (The vehicle entrance fee is $6 on weekends and holiday, free on weekdays.) Playgrounds and picnic areas in the park are still taped off.
San Gabriel Valley
•Pasadena’s Rose Bowl Loop, the 3.1-mile-walking path around the famed stadium, reopened May 13.
•The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino is closed until further notice, but it is “actively working on reopening plans,” its website said Tuesday.
•Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge reopened May 16; tickets must be purchased in advance.
•The L.A. Arboretum in Arcadia is open (reservations required).
Santa Monica Mountains
The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, which straddles Los Angeles and Ventura counties, has reopened most of its trails, parking lots, overlooks and restrooms. Its two visitor centers remain closed, as does Solstice Canyon, and some areas damaged by the Woolsey Fire in 2018, and its parking lots along Pacific Coast Highway. Like other agencies, the National Park Service urges hikers to wear face coverings and keep their distance from others.
Also, the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority has reopened most of its parks, trails, parking lots and restrooms. The authority manages more than 75,000 acres of open space, much of it owned by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.
Other coastal counties
•Ventura County has reopened beaches (as long as visitors keep their distance and don’t linger), golf courses and bike shops.
•Orange County has reopened its beaches with restrictions. As in L.A. and Ventura counties, many beach-adjacent parking lots remain closed, but policies are evolving. This list covers the beaches and piers city by city.
• San Bernardino County on April 25 reopened county parks, lakes, rivers and recreation areas. “Private and city-owned parks, trails, lakes and golf courses also opened on a limited basis,” the L.A. Times’ Luke Money reports. Big Morongo Canyon Preserve and Mojave River Forks Regional Park are still closed.
National forests in Southern California
The U.S. Forest Service closed campgrounds, picnic areas, bathrooms and other developed recreation sites in its California forests, but is gradually reopening them, leaving Southern California’s four forests — Angeles, Cleveland, Los Padres and San Bernardino — to make their own decisions on trail access and parking.
•In the Angeles National Forest north of Los Angeles, officials on May 16 reopened 23 popular trails, four trail heads and 19 roads in the San Gabriel Mountains (with social distancing requirements). However, the forest has closed some popular trails when overcrowding becomes a problem. Chantry Flat north of Arcadia temporarily closed Sunday. Some back-country campgrounds have reopened.
• In the San Bernardino National Forest, whose 680,000 acres include four mountain ranges in San Bernardino and Riverside counties, a spokesman said trails, trailheads, staging areas that function as trailheads and parking areas at trailheads remain open. Hikers should practice social distancing, sticking to wide fire roads instead of single-track trails that are too narrow, the spokesman said.
• In Los Padres National Forest, which includes about 1.95 million acres reaching north from Ventura County into Central California, spokesman Andrew Madsen said trail head parking and trails remain open, as do dispersed camp sites in the backcountry.
• Cleveland National Forest, which reaches into San Diego, Riverside and Orange counties, more than a dozen campgrounds remain closed, along with several trail heads, picnic and day-use areas and overlooks.
National parks in California
The National Park Service has been gradually reopening its parks, and now mosts of California’s nine parks and to national recreation areas are at least partially open. Joshua Tree reopened its roads, trails and individual campsites (but not its visitors centers) on May 17. Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks will open Thursday.
Get inspired to get away.
Explore California, the West and beyond with the weekly Escapes newsletter.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.