California National Forest Closures
Updated: Monday, September 20th
UPDATE: As of September 15th, most National Forests in California have reopened. Full closures have been extended until midnight on Sept. 22 for the Los Padres, Angeles, San Bernardino, and Cleveland National Forests.
In response to the recent announcements, we will be updating this blog frequently as the situation develops.
On Tuesday, August 31st, the U.S. Forest Service announced it will be closing all national forests in California starting Tuesday night, August 31st at 11:59pm PT, through September 17th, 2021.
Due to the growing Caldor Fire near Tahoe and the Dixie Fire in Northern California, among others, officials are hoping that these closures will help reduce the number of people at risk of danger. The closures will not only help prevent individuals from being trapped during an emergency, but having fewer people on national forest lands also decreases the likelihood of new fires starting. This will help keep firefighters and the community safer by limiting possible COVID-19 exposure, officials said. Find out more details here.
Which national forests are closed?
The regional order impacts the following forests that cover approximately 20 million acres.
- Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit
- Los Padres
- Rogue River-Siskiyou
- San Bernardino
- Six Rivers
Note: The Rogue River-Siskiyou and Humboldt-Toiyabe national forests are not affected by the order because they mostly fall into other states. However, there are certain campgrounds and roads in Humboldt-Toiyabe that have been closed due to fires.
*The Eldorado National Forest will be closed until September 30th.
Do the closures apply to National Parks in California?
Most National Parks in California are still open. There may be individual closures of trails or roads within parks due to fires or construction. It is always smart to check ahead of time so you can plan accordingly. You can find updates on every national park or national historic site or monument here. In addition, due to COVID-19, several parks now require reservations, like Yosemite.
What about California State Parks?
As of Tuesday, August 31st, California Department of Parks & Recreation has fully closed 9 state parks and partially closed 3 state parks due to the current wildfires. Here is a complete list of temporarily closed parks.
How are private campgrounds affected by the closures?
Smaller, privately owned campgrounds have the flexibility to reopen based on the status of the county in which they are located (and some might reopen faster than state or federal campgrounds). To search the status of the county and if campgrounds are allowed to reopen in that county, enter the county and „campgrounds“ as the activity here. Be sure to call the private campground you plan to visit at least few days prior to ensure they are still open. Reservations could be needed, so call as far in advance as you can.
Have a trip planned? Don’t worry, you still have options! Check out our top 4 tips below on where to camp:
- Head to the coast! The coastal areas tend to be a slightly safer option than inland in the mountainous regions
- Opt for state or national park campsites
- Check out private campgrounds via sites like Hipcamp, Glampinghub and Tentrr
- Call Escape Reservations at 1-877-270-8267 to find out if you are interested in inquiring about availability in any of our other US locations
Current conditions at parks, campgrounds, and other road trip attractions are always changing. Be sure to double check the weather, road conditions, fire danger, and COVID-19 closures prior to hitting the road. Make a back up plan just in case.