Glenwood Canyon’s most popular hiking trail will be reopening to visitors on Monday, June 1. New Hanging Lake Trail guidelines and adjustments will include a temporary reduction in hiker capacity as well as a social distancing plan.
Glenwood Springs, Colo. (May 15, 2020)—As businesses and attractions in Glenwood Springs make plans to cautiously reopen, implementing measures that enable the highest degree of public health and safety for visitors and employees has been the primary consideration. For Hanging Lake Partners, a stakeholder group that provides guidance and input for the management of the popular hiking trail, devising an effective social distancing strategy for the ever-popular Hanging Lake Trail in Glenwood Canyon was an essential step. The temporary guidelines now in place will allow Hanging Lake Trail to reopen for visitor enjoyment on June 1.
“The new measures will employ best practices for social distancing including fewer permits to hike the trail,” said Lisa Langer, Director of Tourism Promotion for Glenwood Springs, one of the stakeholders in the Hanging Lake Partners. “The reduced number of people will enable visitors to maintain CDC-recommended social distancing guidelines, while still providing a stunning and unique Glenwood Springs, Colorado hiking experience.”
Hanging Lake Partners was formed in 2019 to ensure visitation to Hanging Lake could be sustainable. The partnership includes the White River National Forest, Colorado Department of Transportation, the City of Glenwood Springs, and private businesses.
“This innovative partnership has stepped up once again to ensure public visitation can safely continue at this iconic Colorado destination,” said Marcia Gilles, Acting District Ranger for the Eagle Holy Cross Ranger District.
What’s New for Hanging Lake Trail
Because the trail is steep and narrow, a special management plan was required to allow for the safe passing of hikers on the trail. The temporary management plan which will go into effect on June 1 represents a 73% reduction in potential social interactions between hikers. It will limit the maximum number of visitors to 128 people per day as compared to the original US Forest Service management plan, which allowed for 615 visitors per day. Eight hiking group slots will be spaced throughout the day. Each slot will allow for a maximum of 16 hikers per group, with hikers in each group asked to follow six-foot social distancing guidelines. Large groups of families or friends will need to split up and not exceed a group size of ten hikers. While limiting usage for safety reasons, the plan will have the side effect of further enhancing the serene, remote, wilderness hiking experience of Hanging Lake.
To make navigating the trail as safe as possible, there are designated passing zones along the trail. At a main passing juncture, located at the halfway point, a supervisor will help coordinate the safe passing of ascending and descending groups.
Purchase Hanging Lake Hiking Permits Online
The widely successful Hanging Lake permit reservation system which was implemented in 2019 will resume for the 2020 season. Visitors can purchase permits online at visitglenwood.com/HangingLake for $12 per person. Hikers can either self-drive and park at the Hanging Lake Rest Area; alternatively, visitors can bike or hike along the Glenwood Canyon Recreation Path to the trailhead. Both permits are identical in cost and time slot inventory. All hikers will be asked to present their permit upon arrival at the Hanging Lake Rest Area; only those with permits will be allowed to park.
Plan for Summertime Travel in Glenwood Canyon
Motorists should plan for construction and detours on I-70 when traveling to and from Hanging Lake. These include traffic holds at the Westbound I-70 on-ramp when leaving the Hanging Lake Rest Area (mile point 125). This is to allow traffic to safely enter the head-to-head detour. Motorists must follow detour signs and flagger direction. For current travel times in the Glenwood Canyon, please call or text 970-618-5379.
Updates for an Ever-Evolving Situation
The Hanging Lake Partners realize that the COVID-19 situation is highly dynamic and that safety measures may be revised. As the situation and recommendations evolve, Hanging Lake hikers will always receive the most current updates and safety procedures with their permit confirmation email.
About Hanging Lake
Hanging Lake is designated a National Natural Landmark located in the White River National Forest in Glenwood Canyon about seven miles (11 km) from Glenwood Springs. The 1.2-mile (1.9 km) path is steep and leads to a crystal-clear lake and waterfalls. Because of its rare and fragile shoreline composed of travertine deposits, it is considered a rare geological wonder. To enhance the hiking experience, prevent damage to the trail and protect the environment for future generations, a reservation system was implemented in 2019.
About Glenwood Springs
The Land of Water, where world-famous hot springs meet year-round outdoor adventures.
For more information and to plan a trip: visitglenwood.com.
Glenwood Springs is located 160 miles (257 kilometers) west of Denver on I-70.
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Director of Tourism Promotion
Visit Glenwood Springs, [email protected]