Visitor Compliance is Required

Updated Tuesday, May 26, 2020

On Monday, May 4, the San Mateo County Parks Department reopened 13 of its 23 parks after being closed since March 27.

Visitors are required to hike single file on narrow trails, keep six feet apart from others, not congregate with people who aren’t from their household, and carry face coverings.

“We are eager to welcome visitors back to San Mateo County Parks and for them to experience the physical and mental health benefits of being outdoors and on the trails,” said Parks Director Nicholas Calderon. “During this time, it’s critical that park users follow the new rules developed to prevent overcrowding, discourage gatherings and that support social distancing. Let’s work together to ensure that parks are safe environments for everyone.”

Playgrounds, picnic areas, campgrounds, fields, visitor centers, and some restrooms and parking lots remain closed.

To prevent the congestion on trails and in parking areas that occurred last month prior to park closures, the department has converted some single-track trails to one-direction routes, opened a limited number of parking lots, prohibited road parking, and kept some trails closed to bikes. Dogs must be on leash in parks and trails where dog walking is allowed.

Among the parks that have reopened is Crystal Springs Regional Trail, but only to foot traffic for now. Bicycles aren't currently allowed on the 15-mile trail that can be packed with hikers, joggers, skaters and parents pushing strollers any day of the week and especially on weekend and holidays when weather is good. The trail sees more than 650,000 people annually. “We’re asking bike riders to wait a little longer. It’s one of those difficult decisions we have to make as we work to meet the public’s needs and provide a safe outdoor experience during a very unusual time,” acknowledged Calderon, who is an avid cyclist. Park staff will be stationed along the trail to prevent bicycle entry and to remind visitors to maintain social distancing.

The department will work towards opening additional parks in phases and based on factors that include visitor compliance with rules, the department’s ability to secure adequate cleaning and protective supplies for staff, and orders issued by the county’s health officer. During each phase, the department will monitor trail use through data collected on trail counters, staff observations, and visitor reports.

The 13 parks will open 8 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. daily. They include some of the peninsula’s most popular parks and are located throughout the county and near heavily populated areas where walk-in access is possible. See the full list below.