All of California’s 11 national parks and recreation areas are now at least partly open.
The portions still closed, however, include such iconic spots as Alcatraz and Muir Woods in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Gov. Gavin Newsom is urging Californians to postpone leisure travel until the pandemic eases.
The parks’ phased-in steps could change, depending on the spread of the coronavirus.
Channel Islands National Park. Open. This park never officially closed, but once concessionaire Island Packers stopped running daily boats, visitor traffic dried up. On June 1, Island Packers resumed running boats to the islands, but at reduced capacity to give passengers more room. The Santa Barbara Adventure Co. has also resumed kayak tours on Santa Cruz Island.
Death Valley National Park. The park has partially reopened — it was the last of the California national parks to do so — but this is a difficult time, with temperatures sometimes surpassing 110 degrees. Still, the Oasis at Death Valley, a privately owned complex of hotel rooms, restaurants and shops that serves as the park’s principal commercial hub, has announced plans to open Thursday. Also, cars are allowed to pass through the park on California 190 and Daylight Pass Road. Park management has said Death Valley will remain closed until California moves from the current Phase 2 to Phase 3 in the governor’s reopening plan.
Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Slowly reopening. The area, which includes Alcatraz Island, Muir Woods, Kirby Cove campground, Conzelman Road (overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge) and the Point Bonita Lighthouse, has closed those sites and many others (especially parking areas), while leaving many beaches and trails open. Details are on the National Park Service website, or check the park’s advisory Twitter account @GGNRANPSAlerts. The recreation area’s Baker Beach and China Beach in San Francisco are open.
Joshua Tree National Park. Open. Most campgrounds are open, but its visitor centers remain closed. The park gets perilously hot in the summer.
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Open. The roads, trails, restrooms and picnic areas of Kings Canyon and Sequoia are scheduled to open Thursday, but campgrounds, lodging and all other services will remain closed until further notice.
Lassen Volcanic National Park. Open. Hiking trails are reopened (except Bumpass Hell) as well as the park’s 30-mile highway and Butte Lake and Warner Valley roads. Permitted back-country camping has resumed too. Walk-in campgrounds at Manzanita Lake and Southwest have opened. Seasonal campgrounds will open on previously scheduled dates; check Lassen’s website. The visitor center and museum remain closed.
Redwood National and State Parks. Partly open. Trailheads and parking lots have reopened, as well as restrooms, though guests are advised to bring soap and hand sanitizer. Visitor centers and campgrounds remain closed.
Pinnacles National Park. Partly open. The west entrance near Soledad opened to vehicles May 30 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The east entrance near Paicines remains closed to vehicles but open to bicyclists and foot traffic 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. The campground on the east side remains open; visitor centers are still closed.
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Mostly open. The 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 is Solstice Canyon, some areas damaged by the Woolsey fire in 2018, and parking lots along Pacific Coast Highway.
Yosemite National Park on Thursday will reopen lodgings, one campground and many popular trails, but will limit the number of visitors. Travelers who go for the day will need to pay entrance fees in advance and receive a vehicle pass on recreation.gov. Last Friday the park began allowing those with permits to hike up Half Dome and enter the wilderness area, according to the park’s Facebook page. The cables that take visitors to the top of the landmark are in place. Also opening on Friday in the Fish Camp area just outside the park’s southern entrance: the Tenaya Lodge, with more than 300 rooms.