Popular Eaton Canyon hiking trails closed on Memorial Day after weekend overcrowding, visitors not following COVID-19 rules: Officials

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Eaton Canyon trails have been closed to the public on Memorial Day due to the popular hiking spot in Altadena becoming overcrowded over the weekend, with many not following guidelines aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus, officials said.

The closure extends to the trailhead, parking lot, nature center, and all gates, according to a statement by the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation.

The scenic trail, which winds through the Angeles National Forest and provides access to Eaton Canyon Falls, was first shut down Sunday.

Officials said they decided to implement the closure after the hiking destination attracted large crowds of people who ignored COVID-19 safety orders from the county. The restrictions include maintaining safe physical distancing of 6 feet and wearing a facial covering when close to others.

“We came here, we thought no one was going to be here at all. And there were a lot of people without masks and stuff,” one hiker told KTLA Sunday.

In addition, many people also entered the area through trail access points that were either temporarily closed or unauthorized, according to the county.

The department noted that there had been 15 trail monitors and additional staff from Eaton Canyon Nature Center trying to get visitors to adhere to the guidelines, while L.A. County Sheriff’s Department personnel tried to enforce the rules.

“Despite these best efforts by the County, the large number of visitors to Eaton Canyon this weekend has made it evident that many people are not practicing key requirements and recommendations set forth by Public Health and supported by LA County Parks, such as wearing face coverings, physical distancing and avoiding crowded areas,” the statement read.

By not following the requirements, people were putting themselves and the staff at risk, officials said.

The department encouraged hikers to look for other, less crowded trails in the county on Monday. More options can be found on the Parks and Rec website here.

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