Parks and Rec

Three County Parks Closed in August Due to Summer Heat

Hellhole Canyon

Three San Diego County parks will be closed for the month of August starting Sunday, a measure taken each year because of the month’s typically high temperatures.

Parks officials announced that El Capitan Preserve near Lakeside, Hellhole Canyon Preserve in Valley Center and Mt. Gower Preserve in Ramona will be closed.

The County previously closed Agua Caliente Regional Park and Vallecito County Park in the Anza Borrego desert for the summer, to reopen Labor Day weekend.

In addition to protecting the public from extreme temperatures, the closures give Department of Parks and Recreation staff the opportunity to conduct maintenance such as trail restoration.

There are more than 100 other County parks and preserves to explore during the month of August. Take in the views from the County’s newest trail in the South Bay, stay the night in one of the new cabins at Dos Picos County Park in Ramona, visit a butterfly garden at Lindo Lake County Park in Lakeside, or enjoy a free Summer Movies in the Park screening at dusk after it cools off. If it is really hot, plan your next hike by take one of these virtual tours of a County park.

Parks staff urged people to always take precautions when they’re outside in high temperatures.

If you do go out for a hike, be smart. Below are some safety tips hikers should consider before hitting the trails:

  • Let someone know where you will be and when you plan to return.
  • Hike with others, never alone.
  • Leave your dog at home for difficult hikes. Even “easy” hikes may be too much for your dog when the air or ground are too hot.
  • Take plenty of water to stay hydrated. Rangers recommends one liter (about a quart) for every 2 to 3 miles.
  • Wear sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses.
  • Take breaks in shade, if possible.
  • Take a fully charged mobile phone, map and/or GPS.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, ventilated clothing.
  • Bring along a warm jacket if you plan to stay out after dusk.
  • Wear sturdy shoes with traction for slippery rocks.
  • Follow all posted safety rules.
  • Bring ample food, sunscreen to reapply, a flashlight, first aid kit, multi-purpose tool and a whistle.
  • Know your limitations; choose trails that match your level of physical fitness and areas where you are not going to get lost.

For additional information on visiting County Parks, visit

Gig Conaughton is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact