L.A. County is in various states of reopening, but one thing's for certain: Eaton Canyon returns on Saturday. Most of L.A.'s hiking trails reopened in early May, including Pasadena's scenic Eaton Canyon, but the popular waterfall hike closed halfway through Memorial Day weekend thanks to an onslaught of visitors who not only overcrowded the trails but often ignored the mandatory use of face masks, disregarded social-distancing rules, and left trash around the area.
The closure lasted the rest of May and into early June, but L.A. County's parks department just unveiled a plan that should keep Eaton Canyon clean and help limit the spread: Visitors can now hike Eaton Canyon, as long as they book a reservation in advance. (And yes, hikers will still need to maintain a distance of six feet between groups.)
Reservations are limited to 85 people per time window, with each reservation capped at three hours—more than enough time to traverse the nature preserve and make it to the falls, if you ask us. The timeframes are designated as 8 to 11am; 11am to 2pm; and 2 to 5pm; reservations are free and can be made online, and they'll need to be made at least one day in advance—sorry, no same-day reservations allowed. You'll also need to provide proof of your registration when you arrive, plus some form of photo I.D.
Reservations are only meant for members of the same household, and include entry for only one vehicle (you'll enter and park at 1750 N Altadena Dr in Pasadena). And in addition to keeping six feet of distance and using the new reservation system, the county's department of parks and recreation laid out a few additional rules to keep in mind while you hike through Eaton:
- Leave it at Home: The use of coolers, umbrellas, shade tents, BBQs or chairs is not allowed. Plan ahead.
- Keep it Moving: Passive recreation (lounging, picnics, sunbathing, etc.) is being restricted. Only active recreation (hiking, walking, running, etc.) will be allowed. Limit your time to under 10 minutes at destination spots.
- Stay Safer: Masks that cover nose, mouth, and chin are required in buildings, parking lots, trailheads, when passing people on the trails, and at destination spots. Visitors may be asked to leave if there are too many people to allow for the required physical distance.
- Keep it Clean: Be prepared. Not all restrooms are open to the public. Bring drinking water, soap and sanitizer, and pack out all trash.
By following these rules and sticking to the parks department's new reservation system, hopefully we can avoid another weekend of this: