We are not health experts, we are trail lovers. But during this pandemic, we hope to offer sound guidance for our parks community with two goals in mind:

  1. Helping to protect park users’ health and safety
  2. Keeping Oakland’s trails OPEN

We must work together.

If you believe any of this content is incorrect, or if you have any suggestions to improve it, please contact us.

For up-to-date news and announcements, please follow us on Instagram @oaklandtrailsorg


Last updated July 16, 2020

**Masks are now required statewide whenever 6 feet of social distancing is not possible. This means you should always have a mask on when passing other park users on trails, where 6 feet of distance is rarely possible.**

Oakland Trails supports the National Recreation and Parks Association’s recent Joint Statement on Using Parks and Open Space While Maintaining Social Distancing, and have expanded it to include:

  • Do not use parks if you are sick, or have experienced any COVID-19 symptoms in the past 14 days
  • Follow CDC guidance on personal hygiene before, during, and after any visit to a parkland
  • Be prepared for limited access to public restrooms and drinking fountains
  • Share the trail and warn other users of your presence as you pass
  • Observe CDC’s minimum recommended social distancing of 6 feet from other persons at all times AND wear a face mask or other covering for your nose and mouth

We also support taking the following practical precautions:

  • If the park is already crowded, please don’t stay
  • Plan your route on wider trails and fire roads
  • Avoid groups, gatherings, meet-ups, and picnics (all currently banned activities by our local and regional health officials)
  • Stay away from high-touch surfaces like access gates, parking machines, workout equipment, and play structures
  • Keep dogs on leash and pack-in/pack-out poop bags
  • Bring water, hand sanitizer, and use restrooms before leaving home
  • Park your vehicle properly (roadside areas are crowded – do not block emergency access gates or crosswalks)

A recent message from Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf:

“As Oaklanders, we love our open spaces — and a hike or jog is great for our mental health right now. But we are failing to properly socially distance in the park…”.

If we don’t get this right, the parks will be the next space health officials direct us to shut down. Use the parks to personally exercise for a quick run or hike — please don’t use them to host gatherings. We are all in this together — and we all need to do our part to keep everyone healthy.”

We agree with the mayor! The loss of our city parks during this time would be a serious matter. Already, many national, state, and regional parks are closed or operating with reduced access to limit the spread of COVID-19 due to overcrowding.

More links:

Health Officer Order from Alameda County (June 18, 2020)
COVID-19 guidelines for outdoor activities by the State of California
Info from the East Bay Regional Park District

Special thanks to the Oakland Parks & Recreation Foundation, members of Oakland Volunteer Park Patrol, the Dimond Public Safety Committee, and others for their assistance with the development and distribution of this content.