Hanging Lake in Glenwood Springs, Colorado

Forest Service and City of Glenwood Springs announce prices and operator for Hanging Lake shuttle

The Hanging Lake shuttle and reservation system will provide efficient visitor transportation while protecting a National Natural Landmark!

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo., February 22, 2019– The Forest Service and the City of Glenwood Springs are pleased to announce that H2O Ventures was awarded the contract for the highly anticipated Hanging Lake Shuttle service, set to launch on May 1, 2019. The new reservation and shuttle system will provide a sustainable visitor experience that protects the fragile Hanging Lake ecosystem and continues to support local tourism.


“After years of planning and substantial interest and support from the community, I couldn’t be happier to be reaching this major milestone for Hanging Lake,” said Aaron Mayville, Eagle-Holy Cross District Ranger. “The shared stewardship between the Forest Service, the City of Glenwood Springs and H2O Ventures will improve the visitor experience and the ecological health of the trail and the lake.”

(c) VisitGlenwood

The price for a peak-season reservation will be $12 per person, and will be available for purchase online at visitglenwood.com/hanginglake or in-person at the Hanging Lake Welcome Center. The online Hanging Lake reservation system is scheduled to go live April 1. The Hanging Lake Welcome Center, which will open on May 1, 2019, will be located at 110 Wulfsohn Road in Glenwood Springs. Visitors can find more information about Hanging Lake trip planning at visitglenwood.com/hanginglake or by calling the Hanging Lake information line at 970-384-6309.

@christfurr shared with @visitglenwood via Instagram

“We are pleased to continue our partnership with the Forest Service and to award H2O Ventures the contract for the Hanging Lake Shuttle service. This is an exciting collaboration that will help protect and maintain the natural beauty of Hanging Lake while still allowing visitors and locals the opportunity to experience this popular attraction,” stated Mayor Mike Gamba.

Ken Murphy, co-owner of H2O Ventures and contract recipient added,

“Our ability to connect people to nature through amazing experiences is our passion, and we are confident that we can provide not just a shuttle service, but a professional, high-quality experience for those visiting Hanging Lake.” H20 Ventures is co-owned by Ken Murphy and Duke Bradford who have worked collaboratively for the past three years to offer adventure tourism and transportation services throughout the mountain region of Colorado.

The Hanging Lake parking area in Glenwood Canyon will be closed to personal vehicles during the peak season, May 1 to October 31, when the shuttle service is in operation. Those wishing to bike to the trailhead and hike to Hanging Lake still need to secure a reservation in advance.

@redefinedera shared with @visitglenwood via instagram

The Forest Service and City of Glenwood Springs entered into a partnership in fall of 2018 to develop and manage the Hanging Lake experience under the new Hanging Lake Management Plan. The goal of the partnership is to enact management actions that balance the preservation of Hanging Lake’s natural resources for future generations to enjoy while also supporting local tourism and improving the recreation experience.

“The reservation system and shuttle service that the city and H2O Ventures have put together will be a great step toward relieving the significant pressure that Hanging Lake has felt over the years, and a percentage of the money from reservations will go directly toward maintaining and improving this spectacular natural resource in the future,” Mayville added.

The price of the reservation supports the Hanging Lake visitor experience, with 5% of overall revenue going back toward the partnership and the long-term stewardship and operations of Hanging Lake. The cost of the reservation includes guaranteed free parking and access to the Hanging Lake Welcome Center, the ease of an online reservation system, shuttle service to and from Hanging Lake, and ranger presence to provide visitors with environmental education and interpretation.

Visit Glenwood Springs is helping to brand the Hanging Lake visitor experience, which will include informational materials that will be prominent at the Hanging Lake Welcome Center, on the shuttle, and at other partner locations.

“The new reservation system and Hanging Lake shuttle service will provide an enhanced visitor experience making visiting Hanging Lake more efficient while at the same time protecting this fragile natural treasure,” said Lisa Langer, director of tourism promotion for Visit Glenwood.

Colorado Department of Transportation, a key partner in the Hanging Lake Shuttle planning and operational efforts, is working on signs, automatic gates, and other on-site details to help direct visitors during the peak season. Automatic gates along the eastbound off-ramp to Hanging Lake will only allow shuttles, emergency and authorized vehicle access during the peak season.

During the off-peak season, November 1 to April 30, visitors will still need to make a reservation through the reservation system for $10 to visit Hanging Lake. Visitors will be able to drive their own vehicles and park at the Hanging Lake parking lot during this time. Enforcement and monitoring will take place throughout the year to ensure compliance.

(c) VisitGlenwood


Press Contacts:

Kate Jerman, Public Affairs, Forest Service, 970-945-3271

Sarah O’Brien, Public Information, City of Glenwood Springs, 970-384-6441

Lisa Langer, Director of Tourism Promotion, 970-230-9035, 605-645-0777


For additional information please contact:

Visit Glenwood Springs at 970-945-6580 or [email protected].


How to Visit Hanging Lake – Frequently Asked Questions:

Question: How much does it cost to visit Hanging Lake?

Answer: A reservation for the shuttle costs $12 per person. The experience includes: an online reservation system for convenient trip planning, reduced visitors on the trail for enhanced hiker experience, a dedicated welcome center for parking and shuttle pick-up in Glenwood Springs, on-site maintenance, ranger presence, visitor information services and interpretation on the trail and at the Hanging Lake Welcome Center.

Question: Where do I go to make a reservation to visit Hanging Lake? 

Answer: Reservations can be made online beginning April 1, 2019, at visitglenwood.com/hanginglake. Reservations can also be made in-person beginning on May 1 at the Hanging Lake Welcome Center located at 110 Wulfsohn Road in Glenwood Springs, CO, next to the community center.

Question: Where can I get more information to plan my trip?

Answer: For more information please visit visitglenwood.com/hanginglake or call the Hanging Lake Information line at 970-384-6309. Customer service representatives will be able to answer questions beginning Monday, February 25, 2019. Email inquiries can be made at [email protected].

Question: When will the shuttle run?

Answer: The 2019 shuttle season will operate May 1 – Oct. 31, daily. Shuttle schedules will be available online on the reservation system, beginning April 1, 2019.

Question: Where do I park and get on the shuttle?

Answer: Shuttles will depart from the Hanging Lake Welcome Center located at 110 Wulfsohn Road in Glenwood Springs, CO. Shuttle service will begin on May 1, 2019. Free parking is also available at the Hanging Lake Welcome Center.

Question: Is there group size limit for reservations?

Answer: Yes, there is a limit of twenty people per group reservation, larger groups must call 970-384-6309 to make additional arrangements.

Question: Are there special rates for children, seniors and military?

Answer: At this time there are not special rates for children, seniors and the military.

Question: Is there a season pass for locals?

Answer: At this time there is not a season pass option for locals. All visitors must make a reservation for $12.

Question: How long do I have to hike to Hanging Lake and catch the return shuttle?

Answer: Visiting Hanging Lake by shuttle allows for a three hour hike time there and back with additional time for photos and picnicking. All visitors have a guaranteed return shuttle after a three hour visit to Hanging Lake. Hikers that take shorter or longer than three hours will be on standby to get back on the next available shuttle.

Question: Are dogs allowed at Hanging Lake and at the Hanging Lake Welcome Center?

Answer: No, dogs and/or other pets are not allowed on the Hanging Lake Trail or at the Hanging Lake Welcome Center. Please visit visitglenwood.com/hanginglake for dog-boarding options.

Question: Are there restroom facilities at the Hanging Lake Welcome Center or at Hanging Lake?

Answer: Yes, there are restroom facilities available at the Hanging Lake Welcome Center. Additional amenities at the Welcome Center include a water fountain, gift shop and visitor information services.

Restroom facilities are available at the Hanging Lake trailhead along with a water fountain and picnic tables. Restroom facilities and drinking water is not available along the trail or at the lake; please pack water and snacks with you and remember to pack it out and Leave No Trace!

Question: How long is the Hanging Lake trail?

Answer: The hike to Hanging Lake is a moderate to difficult hike up into a narrow drainage for 1.2 miles with over 1,000 feet of elevation gain. It is important that hikers are prepared for elevation, strenuous climbs, and rocky conditions. Bring water, snacks, sunscreen and appropriate footwear and clothing.

Question: Is there cell service at Hanging Lake?

Answer: There is no cell service at Hanging Lake. The area will be staffed in case of an emergency during the peak season.

Question: Do I need a reservation year-round?

Answer: Yes, during the peak season, May 1-Oct. 31, a reservation is required to visit Hanging Lake either via shuttle, hiking or biking. There is a daily limit of 615 visitors per day. The Forest Service and H2O Ventures will provide onsite visitor services and compliance daily.

During off-peak season, Nov. 1-April 30, a reservation is required to visit Hanging Lake via independent vehicle, hiking or biking. Forest Service Rangers will patrol the trail and parking area to ensure visitors have obtained a reservation.

Question: Do I need a reservation to bike to the trailhead to visit Hanging Lake?

Answer: Yes, bikers/hikers need a reservation and can bike to the trailhead and hike to the lake, year-round at any time.

Question: Will I be able to access the Hanging Lake parking lot?

Answer: When the shuttle is in operation from May 1 through October 31, the parking lot will be closed except for Hanging Lake shuttles, emergency vehicles or other authorized vehicles. Take-outs of larger boats, SUPs, and rafts will not be possible during this time period.

During the off-peak season, the parking area is reserved for emergency vehicles, authorized vehicles and for visitors hiking to Hanging Lake.

It is recommended that those wishing to utilize the Glenwood Canyon bike path do so from another Glenwood Canyon access point such as Grizzly Creek, No Name or Bair Ranch.

Visitors who want to hike to Dead Horse, located along the Hanging Lake trail, will still need to purchase a reservation to do so.

Question: I don’t want to hike to Hanging Lake, but I do want to utilize the Glenwood Canyon bike path, do I need a reservation?

Answer: No, you will not need a reservation if you are not hiking to Hanging Lake.

Question: What is the ultimate goal of the Hanging Lake Management Plan and the reservation system?

Answer: The overall goal of this management Plan is to create and implement a management system for the Hanging Lake Area that is sustainable and achieves these goals:

  • Protect natural resources,
  • Manage congestion,
  • Enhance public safety,
  • Improve visitor experience,
  • Support local tourism.

Question: Will any of the revenue collected directly benefit Hanging Lake?

Answer: At a minimum, 5% of overall revenue goes back toward the partnership and long- term sustainability of operations and management of Hanging Lake and stewardship of this special place.

The partnership allows for the City and the Forest Service to cost share and to cooperatively develop, plan, and implement projects that are mutually beneficial to the Hanging Lake area and provide local residents, as well as the American public, with high quality recreation experiences and excellent customer service.