Is it safe to hike, run and bike outside now?

Is it safe to hike, run and bike outside now? 

(Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times) 


MARCH 18, 2020 

12:55 PM

The trails of Griffith Park

The trails of Griffith Park, seen here on Saturday, remain open. But virtually all park facilities are closed.

(Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)Is it safe to walk, run, hike and bike outside? Is it recommended? 


Yes, say L.A. County Public Health officials. In fact, “take a walk” and “go for a hike” are at the top of the L.A. County Public Health Department’s “safe-to-do” list as the region’s fight against the coronavirus continues. 

And, a spokesman said, “Biking and running are great as long as not in a group where there is close contact.” 

But authorities have grown increasingly restrictive about other outdoor activities. Public Health officials caution parents against taking their children to playgrounds. And as measures to fight the virus multiply, many outdoor venues have closed. 

As of Wednesday morning, for instance, California’s state parks system had closed all campgrounds. But the system’s trails and beaches remained open. 

More locally, the Sierra Club’s Angeles Chapter canceled all events and outings through April 12. 

The Huntington Library’s gardens in San Marino were closed through April 14 and Descanso Gardens closes Thursday, but outdoor areas of the L.A. Arboretum are open. Griffith Park’s trails and green spaces are open but virtually all of its buildings, facilities, programs and classes were closed or suspended. 

Los Angeles County’s parks and trails and lakes are open, and golf courses are open for regular play (but not tournaments), but access is limited to tennis courts, outdoor basketball courts and equestrian centers; and gyms and aquatic centers were closed. The county circulated this graphic guide on Twitter. 

LA Public Health


Social distancing is the best tool we have to slow the spread of COVID-19. Here is a quick rundown of activities that are safe, activities to avoid, and activities where we recommend using caution. Let's work together from far apart. #COVID19#novelcoronavirus

View image on Twitter

Here’s more advice from county officials: 

“Small groups of children can be together,” an L.A. County Health Department spokesman said in an email, “particularly children in one household, and there is no need for social distancing in a family unit.” 

But, he said, “There should be no playdates with other children and parents should not take children to playgrounds, shopping malls, movie theaters, museums, entertainment centers and other places where there are large crowds of people.” 

Recommended actions: “Take a walk, go for a hike, do art projects, sing and dance together, preparing meals, etc. Sick children need to be isolated from others are much as possible, and sick caregivers should do the same.” 

The Los Angeles County Health Department has ordered that bars, gyms, movie theaters and entertainment centers close and offers “guidance” urging citizens to practice social distancing, cancel or postpone gatherings of 50 people or more (at least through the end of March); to limit gatherings of people at higher risk (people older than 65, pregnant women and people with chronic illness) to 10 people; and “avoid non-essential travel, public gatherings and places where large groups of people congregate.” 

County Public Health officials also say, “If you are mildly sick with a fever, stay home and call your doctor if you are concerned and/or your symptoms worsen.”