*HEAT and WILDFIRES ALERT: The National Weather Service has extended the excessive heat warning for parts of California through 8 p.m. PDT Friday, July 12. Furthermore, several wildfires are impacting some state parks. Please visit parks.ca.gov/incidents for the latest on park closures and impacts. Be sure to take extra precautions when heading outdoors and know before you go by checking the park’s webpage ahead of time. Visit our safety tips webpage and get the latest on the weather at weather.gov.

 

Backpacking

Backpacking

Biking

Biking

Boating

Boating

Camping

Camping

Hiking

Hiking

Equestrian

Horseback Trail

OHV

OHV

Summer

Sun

Swimming

Swimming

RECREATE RESPONSIBLY

Whether you are an experienced outdoor enthusiast or a new one, we look forward to seeing you in California’s state park trails, beaches, lakes, mountains and deserts, but we ask that you please recreate responsibly.

  • Know Before You Go: Prior to leaving home, check the status of the park unit you want to visit to find current park information. Trails, roads or certain areas may be unavailable due to unforeseen circumstances. Also, check local weather forecasts and the official website or social media channels of your destination.

  • Plan and Prepare: Permits may be required such as for entry, camping, certain recreational activities or transportation. Also, having and knowing how to use the appropriate gear for your activity could make or break your experience. Have a back-up plan in case your destination or activity is unavailable.

  • Play It Safe: State parks are meant to be enjoyed in many different ways, but to play it safe, err on the side of caution. Make sure you not to underestimate temperatures or hiking distances. Let somebody know that you are in the park, especially if you undertake longer hikes. Enter waterbodies such as rivers or lakes in parks only if and where it is safe and encouraged. Be sure to wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket when recreating near or in the water.

  • Leave No Trace: Leave areas better than how you found them by staying on designated trails and packing out all trash. Do not disturb wildlife or take plants.

Summer: Summer activity safety is the most important issue to keep in mind when recreating in the heat and in water. When outside, please remember the following safety tips:

  • Wear a Life Jacket Around Water: Water-related accidents can happen suddenly and rapidly. Make sure you and those with you wear properly fitting, U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets, especially children. Wearing a life jacket is the best way to increase your chances of survival during an incident. View locations where public agencies and private organizations offer to loan life jackets to the public.
  • Ocean Rip Currents: If you get caught in a rip current, stay calm and do not fight the current. Swim or float parallel to the shore until you are out of the current and then swim toward the shore.
  • Check the Weather:
    • Plan activities based on temperatures throughout the day.
    • Dress in proper clothing for the activities you are planning.
    • Shield yourself from the sun with a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen.
    • Hydrate. Drink plenty of water and avoid alcoholic and caffeinated fluids.
  • Protect Your Loved Ones Around Water:
    • Always supervise children by appointing a designated adult "water watcher."
    • Know your limits. Swimming in a lake, ocean, or river is different than swimming in a pool. 
    • Obey posted warnings and swim in designated areas or near a lifeguard tower, if available. If someone is in distress, seek help from a lifeguard or, if one is not available, call 911.
  • Create an Outdoor Plan: Cell connectivity in many state park units is limited or non-existent. Tell a responsible person back at camp or at home where you are going and when you plan on returning. Ask that person to notify local law enforcement if you do not return on time.

Winter: Winter activity safety is the most important issue to keep in mind when recreating in the cold. When outside, please remember the following safety tips: 

  • Dress for the cold. With unpredictable conditions and strenuous activity, it is hard to know what you will need. Dress in layers, wear appropriate shoes and check the weather of your destination.
  • Do not forget sunscreen. Although it is cold, the sun's rays are just as strong as during summer months. The snow’s reflectiveness and the higher altitude amplify the sun’s force. Remember to apply sunscreen and lip balm.
  • Bring the essentials. Make sure to pack plenty of water and snacks, and bring at least an extra day’s supply of food. Do not forget navigational tools, spare charger for your cellphone, and a flashlight.
  • Turn around, don’t drown. Remain off roadways prone to flooding during storms. Do not attempt to cross flooded roadways.

For additional winter safety tips, please go to this webpage.

  • What3words Logowhat3words: Visitors can now use the what3words tool, an innovative location technology app, that provides users with a simple way to communicate precise locations in emergency situations or provide directions to family and friends in any of the 280 state parks. what3words allows dispatchers with state-of-the-art technology to assist visitors in the event they become lost, stranded or who otherwise need help from emergency services. Using this revolutionary technology, State Parks dispatchers will now be able to pinpoint the precise locations of individuals who become lost with just three dictionary words, so that help can be sent quickly to exactly where it is needed. Visitors can also use the app to provide locations to events, trails or campsites. To learn more on how the app works, visit parks.ca.gov/what3words.

  • OuterSpatial IconOuterSpatial: Experience a safer outdoor adventure with the OuterSpatial app—your ultimate guide to California State Parks. Navigate through a user-friendly interactive map, receive accurate directions, and stay updated in real-time for secure park exploration. Connect with fellow enthusiasts, monitor your visits and earn badges via challenges like the Passport to Your California State Parks. From trail guidance to sharing experiences, the OuterSpatial app opens the door to unforgettable outdoor moments, all while emphasizing safety.