Is It Safe to Go Outside?

Hiking in the Time of Coronavirus

Hello hikers. First and foremost, we hope you are well and staying safe during this unprecedented global coronavirus pandemic. Here at PCT: Oregon, we’re doing okay, primarily since we run our site from a kitchen table in SE Portland. It was our intent to kick off our 2020 season next month with a bunch of resource updates, trail news, gear reviews and other fun stuff. Presently that is still our plan, with the addition of some extra health and safety info. As we while away the shut-in time, we hope that our continued normal operations will at least be a small distraction from the current situation, as we optimistically look forward to being out on the trails this summer.

As we are not equipped to keep up with all the pandemic news everywhere, we ask that you please refer to your local news and official resources for the most up-to-date information about your specific area. Please rely on reputable agencies and news sources, and not on hearsay you may find online and in social media. As we come across official news that relates to the hiking and outdoor situation in Oregon, we will be sharing that information via our Facebook Page. Please take these warnings, closures and directions seriously so we can minimize the spread of this disease, reduce its impacts on our healthcare systems, save lives, and get back to normal.


The following outdoor recreation sites have been closed to recreation in the interest of maintaining social distancing and minimizing the spread of coronavirus. This list will be updated as news comes in. Scroll down for more information. #stayhomesavelives

Closures not on this list? Please notify us at   

Oregon Goes on Official Lockdown

On March 23, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown issued an Executive Order that all Oregonians should stay home to help minimize the spread of the novel coronavirus that’s sweeping across the country. Most Oregon restaurants, businesses and entertainment venues have already been closed. Acceptable reasons to leave your house include grocery shopping, getting takeout, going to the pharmacy, and other essential needs (see full list). Gathering in groups, both indoors and outdoors, is absolutely prohibited. As of this posting, getting outdoors for a walk or local hike is still permitted, with the caveats that you stay close to home, and strictly adhere to the current social distancing guidelines by staying at least six feet from others (more info below).

Visit the Oregon Coronavirus Page for more information, FAQs and other updates.

This information, and the information that follows is current as of the time of this posting. If you are not an Oregon resident or visitor, please refer to your own state’s or community’s pandemic response requirements. News changes rapidly, so keep up with the latest developments. 

PCTA Recommends Cancelling All PCT Hikes 

Last week, the Pacific Crest Trail Association urged all thru-hikers to postpone or cancel all hikes on the PCT this year. Hikers already on the trail should exit the trail and head home. This guidance came a few days after the Appalachian Trail Coalition sent a similar message to AT hikers. While escaping to the wilderness sounds like the ideal way to get distance from the coronavirus, this advisory was issued in consideration of several factors:

  • Interaction with fellow hikers, either on the trail or in popular camp areas, who could unknowingly be carrying the virus could put you at risk. Conversely, if you have the coronavirus and are asymptomatic, you could spread it to others. 
  • Contracting the coronavirus deep in the wilderness, far from medical help, is a bad place to get sick. And since this is primarily a respiratory disease, getting sick at high elevations, where there’s less oxygen, could exacerbate the situation.
  • Due to social distancing requirements in PCT states (CA, OR, WA), Trail Angels will not be available as a resource for assistance or transportation if you find yourself in need. We will temporarily be taking down PCT: Oregon’s Trail Angels page.  
  • Resorts and resupply towns may no longer have supplies or services available. Additionally, if you are an asymptomatic carrier, you could inadvertently spread the virus to a small town, which could be devastating.
The choice is no longer only personal, but one of social responsibility. We all must do everything we can to get beyond this pandemic as quickly as possible. — PCTA

Visit PCTA for more information.

State Parks, Outdoor Sites Closed in Oregon

In the interest of maintaining public safety, reducing crowds, and enforcing social distancing requirements, some Oregon outdoor destinations have been closed to the public:

Some Forest Service lands in Oregon remain open to the public, however all offices and ranger stations are closed to the public. Forest managers are advising visitors to adhere to Gov. Brown’s Executive Order to stay home. They have also issued a warning that Forest Service lands may not be virus-free, and that rescue services could be limited if you get into trouble.

Stay home. Stay safe. — US Forest Service

Yes, You Can Still Get Outdoors

Even with the statewide shut-in order, you can still get outside for some fresh air by taking a walk or local hike. Nik Blosser, chief of staff to Gov. Brown, stated in the Portland Tribune, “There’s specific guidelines that say don’t travel for recreational purposes. But if you’re going to walk down the street or go for a run, that’s OK.” And to ensure your own safety, and the safety of others—even outdoors—please adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Choose to walk or hike at less-busy parks and trails.
  • Avoid gathering in groups at parking areas and trailheads.
  • Practice social distancing by staying at least six feet away from others.
  • If you go to a location where you cannot maintain proper social distancing, go home or choose a different trail.
  • Don’t touch park handrails, signage or playground equipment.
  • Use hand sanitizer or soap and water to wash your hands regularly.

If you live in the Portland area, check out our Urban Trails: Portland guide for a place to walk near you.

See the CDC Guidelines for more information about staying safe, and remember that it is your responsibility to keep up with and adhere to local area restrictions and guidance from officials.

Pass the Time with PCT: Oregon

While the current outlook may look pretty dismal, and we’re all likely to come down with a severe case of cabin fever, this dark time will eventually pass, and we’ll be hiking again before we know it. In the coming weeks, we’ll be posting a variety of features and posts to help keep you entertained and informed, while passing some of your housebound time.

To kick things off, we’re inviting you to share some of your favorite photos with the PCT: Oregon community. Send us your favorite photo from anywhere on the PCT (including CA and WA), and we’ll share your images on our site and social channels to help keep hikers inspired and optimistic for the future. Send your pics to Be sure to include your name, trail name, and if you have one, Instagram handle.

Please be safe, be well, and support your community. 

It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. — Samwise Gamgee

Our Partners

Follow Us

Get News from the Green Tunnel

Latest Posts

Great Gear

When you click and shop thru our partner brands, you support the operating expenses of PCT: Oregon. Thank you for your patronage!

Support the PCT

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.