What’s Open In El Yunque National Forest?

As everyone knows, hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated Puerto Rico in September 2017. The island has been in a state of recovery ever since, and things are looking pretty good overall. Nature is rebounding. Businesses are reopening. Damaged infrastructure has been repaired. Sure, there is still more work to be done. But we feel confident in saying that Puerto Rico is once again open for tourism!

El Yunque National Forest is the single most-visited area in all of Puerto Rico, with about 600,000* people from all over the world visiting the forest each year. The hurricanes in 2017 caused considerable damage in the forest … landslides, washed-out roads, deforestation, downed trees, and other structural damage. Because of that, much of forest has remained closed to the public ever since.

Little by little, the Forest Service is repairing and reopening parts of the National Forest. This article serves to itemize the parts of the forest that have reopened, and those that remain closed. We will update this article with new information as it is made available by the Forest Service.

El Yunque National Forest

What’s Open?

These areas are have been announced as “open to the public” by the Forest Service, as of March 27, 2019. Even though these areas are “open”, due to on-going maintenance and reconstruction in the forest, a site may be temporarily closed on any given day. Additionally, heavy rain may cause more landslides, forcing the closure of specific areas. Check with the Forest Service personnel when you arrive at the forest to verify that the areas you intend to hike in are open during your visit..

La Coca Falls – Located right on Road 191, La Coca Falls is open for viewing.

El Yunque National Forest

La Coca TrailLa Coca Trail is a difficult hike through into the wilderness area of the forest. The trailhead is located just up-hill from La Coca Falls. There is limited parking.

Yokahu Tower – A short climb up Yokahu Tower offers panoramic views of the forest.

El Yunque National Forest

Juan Diego TrailJuan Diego Trail is a relatively easy trail that leads to a small waterfall. It used to be secluded, but (as one of the few waterfalls now accessible within the forest) this is where most people now stop. Access is restricted to the lower waterfall on this trail.

Caimatillo Trail -Only one small part of it is open at the moment. Park on Rt 191 at km 11.8 parking area and start the trail here. It leads right into El Yunque Peak trail.

Los Picachos Trail – This trail leads off to the east from the El Yunque Peak trail. trail that has amazing views and rarely used..

Palo Colorado Visitors Center – This area has parking and a gift shop and a park employee who can help you plan your day in the park They have maps of the trails.Picnic areas are not yet open.

El Yunque National Forest

Baño Grande – The Baño Grande site is open for viewing. Swimming is not permitted. Parking is available at Palo Colorado.

Mt. Britton Trail – Park on Road 9938 and take this trail to Route 10. From there, you walk up the road just a short bit and you can access the short trail that leads up to Mt. Britton Tower.

Mt. Britton Tower Spur – This trail connects El Yunque Trail to Route 10. You can use this to hike from the Mt. Britton Tower area to the peak of El Yunque.

Palma Sierra Picnic Area – parking area and concession stand. Some picnic tables.

El Yunque National Forest

El Yunque Trail & Peak – Use this trail to reach the observation tower atop El Yunque peak. The side trails to Los Picachos and Roca El Yunque are open too. That the lowest segment of El Yunque Trail, that connects the Baño Grande area to the junction with Mt. Britton Tower Spur (that’s where the fireplace is located) Has reopened. To reach the peak, you can either start by hiking the Mt. Britton Trail, and then either go up Route 10, or use the Mt. Britton Tower Spur to get to El Yunque Trail or start at Caimatillo Trail and go up from there.

El Yunque trails are open every day 8:00am – 6pm. Yokahu Tower closes at 4:30pm.

Puente Roto – Swimming and picnic area located on Route 988.

Angelito Trail – Nice trail across little bridge to swimming hole.

El Toro Trail – Reach the highest point in El Yunque National Forest on El Toro Trail, accessible from Road 186. This is a difficult hike. Note that, until the canopy regrows, most of this hike is in full sun.

El Yunque National Forest

Quebrada Grande & Río Espiritu Santos – There are a number of scenic rivers and waterfalls accessible from Road 186 in Río Grande.

Río Sabana Picnic Area – Though the Sabana Trail is not open, the picnic area in the Río Sabana Recreation Area is open. This area is on the south side of El Yunque National Forest, and is only accessible via the southern segment of Road 191. It is open on weekends only.

El Yunque National Forest

What’s Still Closed?

  • El Portal Visitor Center & Trail – No expected reopening date provided.
  • Big Tree Trail – Expected to reopen at the end of 2020.
  • La Mina Trail – Expected to reopen at the end of 2020.
  • La Mina Falls – Will reopen once Big Tree and La Mina Trails are reopened.
  • Baño de Oro Trail – No expected reopening date provided.
  • Tradewinds Trail – No expected reopening date provided.
  • Río Sabana (Tony Croatto) Trail – No expected reopening date provided.

Because we know someone will ask … All photos in this article were taken in 2018 … post-Maria.

PuertoRicoDayTrips.com assumes no responsibility regarding your safety when participating in the activities described in this article. Please use common sense! If your mother or that little voice in your head tells you that you are about to do something stupid … then don't do it! Read more about Safety →

Comments & Discussion Leave a Comment »

There are 9 comments on this article. Add to the Discussion »

Just a note for clarification regarding the "swimming pool." It's not as if you'll be able to swim breast stroke laps. A more accurate term used by the locals is that you'll be able to bathe (banar) in the pools. Be careful. There are many rocks which can be slippery. Falling would be dangerous. Recommend wearing water shoes.

Comment by Jose U on 09 Aug 2019

You can enter the north side of El Yunque where the usual trails are via RT 191, or using 186/9966 to 191. There are also trails off of RT 186 and 988. Then there is S191, but only a picnic area open there.

Comment by Gwenn on 17 May 2019

Thank you for this very insightful article! We are going in a couple of weeks and I want to know, is there only one entrance to access the forest? I thought I read somewhere the original entrance is closed so there’s a temporary entrance somewhere different? If someone knows the amswer I would appreciate it. Thanks!

Comment by Carm on 17 May 2019

This is still the accurate list of what is open. You can swim in Juan Diego Falls.

Comment by Gwenn on 27 Mar 2019

Hello I noticed that this website was updated in January I am planning on visiting Puerto Rico in May and wanted to know if there was any other updates. Are any of the waterfalls open for swimming? Thank you so much in advance for your response.... Roberta

Comment by Roberta Montijo on 27 Mar 2019

Dona Juana waterfall is a roadside waterfall in Orocovis, in the center of the island....Not in El Yunque. But yes, Dona Juana is "open". La Mina Waterfall in El Yunque is not open.

Comment by Gwenn on 14 Jan 2019

What about Dona Juana waterfall? Is it open?

Comment by Alena Mezhenina on 14 Jan 2019

The first (Yokahu Tower with flag) was taken with a super zoom lens from a parking area along Road 191 down mountain from the tower. The second is a view from along El Yunque Trail. The seventh is on Rio Espiritu Santos, where it crosses Road 186 in Rio Grande, taken with a drone. The eighth is Rio Mamayes, up-river from the end of Angelito Trail.

Comment by Ray on 03 Dec 2018

Hi, Can I first just say how fantastic your website is and how grateful I am for it! So incredibly well thought out and just a treasure trove of information of exactly the kind I had been searching for. It is really helping me plan an upcoming trip to Puerto Rico (my first!) later this month. So ... to my question -- some of the photographs are incredibly intriguing but since the photos don't have captions it's not always obvious to me which of the sites they are showing. There are 8 photos in the post. Could I troulbe you to please tell us the vantage point from which photos 1, 2 -- and also what is shown in photos 7 and 8? Thanks again for putting together such a terrific site!

Comment by Nurith Celina Aizenman on 03 Dec 2018

Leave a Comment & Continue the Discussion

All fields are required.

@
Your email address will not be published.
More Info
Ads & Sponsors

Other Puerto Rico Resources …

Coqui's Hideaway Rainforest Villa in Rio Grande Located in the Foothills of El Yunque
San Juan Bus Map - learn about public transportation in the San Juan metro area