L.A. County hiking trails closed amid coronavirus outbreak after sunny skies attract large crowds

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The Eaton Canyon Trail in Altadena is seen on Jan. 18, 2020. (Credit: KTLA)

The Eaton Canyon Trail in Altadena is seen on Jan. 18, 2020. (Credit: KTLA)

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Hiking trails in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County were closed Monday after sunny skies brought large crowds to local trails and beaches this weekend, officials announced.

County officials previously said it was OK to hike, run, bike and walk in open spaces amid the “safer-at-home” order, but the restrictions were tightened after many appeared not to heed social distancing guidelines.

“Hiking trails in LA County will be closed. You may walk/run in your neighborhood for fresh air and exercise,” the county tweeted in response to an earlier message saying residents are allowed to leave their homes. “Stay at least 6 feet away from others when you leave home.”

In a tweet Monday, Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said the closure was a response to the overcrowding of the past weekend.

“Please remember, you’re safer at home,” Barger said.

It appeared Monday that trails within the city of Los Angeles and the Angeles National Forest remained open, as they do not fall under the county’s jurisdiction.

“The big message is we don’t want big groups of people in any county areas,” Steve Frasher, a spokesman for the county, told KTLA. “Recreation and fresh air is one thing, but congregating in groups is contrary to what the whole point is.”

The county’s Department of Parks and Recreation website does not include information about the closure of trails, though it does detail other closures, including county golf courses and sports and recreation areas.

Earlier Monday, county officials shut down parking lots at Malibu beaches to discourage large crowds — a day after the city of Santa Monica had taken similar action.

Santa Monica Mountain National Recreation Area officials on Monday said all their trails, with the exception of Solstice Canyon, are open. Overflow parking at other sites like Sandstone Peak and Mishe Mokwa is being restricted “to help with social distancing protocols,” park officials said in a tweet.

By Monday evening, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a “soft closure” of state parks saying he’d block off parking lots.

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