Phoenix Parks Add Closures And Easter Weekend Restrictions

By Christina Estes
Published: Friday, April 3, 2020 - 7:58am

south mountain park
Christina Estes/KJZZ
Hikers visit South Mountain Park in Phoenix.

Phoenix will keep its hiking trails open but major changes are coming to city parks.

All ramadas and picnic tables will be closed in parks and mountain preserves until further notice. The Parks Department will also limit golf cart rentals at its eight courses to one person at a time with the exception of two family members. 

Although Gov. Doug Ducey labeled parks as essential services that must remain open unless he orders otherwise, City Attorney Cris Meyer told council members Thursday that Phoenix can make changes.

“We are allowed to put restrictions on them to enforce the distancing requirements,” he said.

On Easter weekend, April 11-12, flatland parks — those are traditional city parks like Encanto and Steele Indian School — will have new restrictions. Parking lots will be closed and no picnicking will be allowed that weekend. 

This year, parking lots will be closed with the exception of those with a disabled parking placard and no picnicking will be allowed. The council considered closing restrooms too, but Parks Director Inger Erickson advised against it.

“One of the concerns that we have as staff is that if the restrooms are closed and people need to use the restroom is that the problem will then be moved to the outside of the facility versus the inside of the facility where it’s a little bit easier to clean up,” she said.

Tennis courts, pickleball courts, dog parks and skate parks all remain open. On March 31, 2020,  Phoenix closed all playgrounds, fitness equipment, basketball and volleyball courts and sports complexes at city parks. 

Hole in the Rock
The Hole in the Rock is the most prominent icon in Papago Park

Phoenix will continue limiting hiking trail access at Papago Park’s Hole in the Rock, Camelback Mountain’s Echo Canyon Trailhead, Piestewa Peak Trailhead and South Mountain Park’s Pima Canyon Trailhead and Dobbins Lookout.

The Parks Department requests residents follow these guidelines:

  • Refrain from using parks or trails if they are exhibiting symptoms.
  • Follow CDC guidance on personal hygiene prior to and during use of parks or trails.
  • Prepare for limited access to public restrooms or water fountains.
  • While on trails, warn other users of their presence as they pass, and step aside to let others pass.
  • Follow CDC guidance on the recommended size of social gatherings including outdoor picnicking, pick-up sports and other group hangouts, and maintain proper physical distance at all times.
  • Observe CDC minimum recommended social distancing of six feet from other individuals at all times. If this is not possible, users should find an alternate location or depart that space.
  • Consult their local and state ordinances and guidelines for the most up-to-date recommendations on park and trail use.