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Runyon Canyon
Photograph: Benny HaddadRunyon Canyon

Runyon Canyon is closed because it was just too busy right now

Michael Juliano

The first weekend of L.A.’s “safer at home” order also happened to be the first sunny weekend after days and days of rain. So, of course, Angelenos flocked to Runyon Canyon on Saturday.

A slew of predictable closures followed: MRCA parks, L.A. County trails, golf courses, L.A. City parks facilities and most beach parking lots have all been temporarily blocked to encourage Angelenos to stay at home or limit the number of people in hopes of making social distancing actually possible. Yet amid all this, Runyon, the hiking scene in L.A., somehow remained open.

That’s very quickly changed, though: On Tuesday morning, the gates to the popular hiking spot were locked until further notice.

UPDATE (3/26): In addition to Runyon, trails at Bronson Canyon and Griffith Park have been closed.

Let’s step back a little, though: Councilman David Ryu, whose district includes the Hollywood Hills and Griffith Park, first penned a letter to the Department of Recreation and Parks that asks for a weekend-only closure of Runyon Canyon Park as well as Lake Hollywood Park, a popular Hollywood Sign viewing spot.

Ryu, in a tweet, says that his office “received many reports of highly crowded trails” over the weekend, and while he considers exercise and outdoor time important, he urges that it can’t come at the cost of social distancing.

On Tuesday night, the trail’s closure was inevitable: In an interview with NBCLA, L.A. mayor Eric Garcetti said that “Runyon Canyon is one of L.A.’s most beautiful parks, but the crowds this past weekend were too big to be safe. We’re going to close it to the public prior to this weekend.”

Though it initially wasn’t clear if it would be a full-time or weekend-only closure, the park appears closed indefinitely. This actually doesn’t mark the first time the park’s been shut down: Runyon closed for much of the spring and early summer of 2016 for utility work.

If you need a bit of fresh air, the county still encourages you to walk or run in your neighborhood—just make sure to stay at least six feet away from other people, a much easier task if you avoid L.A.’s most popular outdoor spots.

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