What’s Open In El Yunque National Forest?
Starting August 23, 2023, you will NOT need a reservation ticket to enter El Yunque, but it is first come, first served. There are limited parking spots. If all the parking spots are full when you arrive, you will need to wait until people leave to be admitted. So get there early, they open 8am or after 2pm.
As everyone knows, hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated Puerto Rico in September 2017, and some of El Yunque’s trails are still closed from that damage.
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, some 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.
These areas are have been announced as “open to the public” by the Forest Service. 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..
El Portal Visitor Center – open , but there is an entrance fee, (don’t forget to use your National Park Passes for a reduced rate ). There is a trail here too.
La Coca Falls – Located right on Road 191, La Coca Falls is open for viewing.
La Coca Trail (until the 2nd river) – La 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.
Yokahú Tower A tower that offer a great view
Juan Diego Trail – Juan 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.
Palma Sierra Picnic Area – parking area and concession stand. Some picnic tables.
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 start your walk from the trailhead and take this trail to Route 10. NOTE- Mt Britton Tower is closed until about December 2023 for Maintnance! 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 You can continue on Rd 10 to El Yunque Peak.
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 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.
La Roca – a short trail off the Rd 10 that leads to a scramble up a rock to a nice view.
Tradewinds Trail – A difficult trail, leads to a peak, and connects to S191 via Rio Sabana Trail.
Lower part of El Yunque Trail 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. Use this to get to Mt Britton Spur (to left at fireplace) or The trail to Los Picachos (to the right at the fireplace).
Puente Roto – Swimming and picnic area located on Route 988.
Angelito Trail – Nice trail across little bridge to swimming hole on RT 988.
Bisley Trail – New trail, leads from RT 988 to La Mina River.
El Toro Trail – Reach the highest point in El Yunque National Forest on El Toro Trail, accessible from Road 186, going through Canovanas. This is a difficult, muddy hike.
S191 – Río Sabana Picnic Area -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.
On S191 – Río Sabana Trail – trailhead
What’s Still Closed?
Big Tree Trail – no date yet.
La Mina Trail – Expected to reopen sometime in 2025.
La Mina Falls – Will reopen once La Mina Trail is reopened.
Baño de Oro Trail – No expected reopening date provided.
Quebrada Grande & Río Espiritu Santos – RT 186 is closed for repairs, so no access to this area until road is repaired. There are a number of scenic rivers and waterfalls accessible from Road 186 in Río Grande.
The upper Parts of El Yunque Trail & to the Peak – The EL Yunque Trail lower part is open.
Use this trail to reach the observation tower atop El Yunque peak. Currently, to reach the peak, you can either start by hiking the Mt. Britton Trail, and then go up Route 10, or use the lower part of the EL Yunque Peak trail, and at the fireplace T, go left onto the Mt. Britton Tower Spur and go up Rd 10 to peak. .
El Yunque trails are open every day 8:00am – 5:00pm. Gates on RT 191 N close at 5:00pm
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!