On Tuesday, May 5, 2020, some very popular North Bend hiking and outdoor recreation areas will reopen to the public after being closed for nearly 6 weeks over coronavirus social distancing concerns.
What North Bend area trails are reopening?
All trails managed by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which include popular trails along Mt. Si Road – like Mount Si, Little Si and Mt. Teneriffe, are reopening.
The Middle Fork Natural area will also reopen, which is home to popular Mailbox Peak. Remember, though, December flooding severely damaged and closed a section of Middle Fork Road about 8 miles northeast of the Mailbox Peak Trailhead – so some trails are still inaccessible.
Rattlesnake Mountain Scenic Area and Raging River State Forest will also open – which includes Snoqualmie Point Trailhead, BUT access from Rattlesnake Lake Recreation Area & Rattlesnake Ledge Trail, managed by Seattle Public Utilities, is closed.
Just east of North Bend, Ollalie State Park and Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail (AKA Iron Horse State Park Trail / John Wayne Pioneer Trail) also reopen on May 5th.
And to the west, Tiger Mountain State Forest and West Tiger Mountain NRCA will open.
King County Parks announced the Snoqualmie Valley Trail would reopen on Friday, May 8th.
Although hikers, bikers, boaters and hunters will once again have day use access to these state lands – all camping and overnight accommodations remain closed until further notice. This includes both dedicated and dispersed camping.
NOTE: Rattlesnake Lake Recreation Area will NOT reopen on May 5th. Seattle Public Utilities, which manages RLRA, said that during good weather more than 2,000 people visit the popular area daily, but there’s limited opportunity to physical distance safely while hiking and on the Rattlesnake Ledge. So they decided to keep RLRA closed until further notice.
Find the full list of all OPEN WA DNR lands HERE.
If reopened outdoor areas become too crowded, they could be closed again. According to WA DNR, “If large groups are congregating or there is a lack of adherence to physical distancing protocols, we will evaluate location-based closures at that time. In addition, if other COVID-19 related public safety concerns develop, WDFW, DNR, and Parks may close areas with limited notice to protect public health and safety.”
DNR Tips to be a Responsible Outdoor Recreationist
- Plan Ahead – While many state-managed land destinations are open for day-use, other local and federal lands may still be closed. Pack your lunch and get gas before you go, don’t make unnecessary stops to or from your destination. Do not carpool with people other than your immediate household. If you are sick stay home.
- Come Prepared – Visitors may find reduced or limited restroom services as staff begin the process to reopen facilities. Bring your own soap, water, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper with you. Be prepared to cover your nose and mouth if you find yourself near others with a mask or other facial covering.
- Stay Close to Home – This is not the time to travel long distances to recreate. If your destination is crowded, be prepared to go somewhere else or come back at another time. Also, make sure to enjoy the outdoors with your immediate household members only. Recreation with those you don’t live with creates new avenues for transmission.
- Don’t Take Unnecessary Risks – Health care workers and first responders are working really hard right now to keep us safe during this health crisis. This includes not attending or hosting gatherings like cookouts or barbecues.
- Practice Physical Distancing and Good Hygiene – Keep six feet between you and those outside your immediate household. Launch one boat at a time to give others enough space to launch safely. Leave at least one parking space between your vehicle and the vehicle next to you. Wash your hands often and try not to touch your face. Practice good hygiene and bring your own water, soap, hand sanitizer, and facial covering with you. Be aware of any high-traffic surfaces and avoid them.
- Leave No Trace – Take any garbage with you, including disposable gloves and masks. With facilities just reopening there may not be staff collecting trash, be respectful of our public lands and facilities