Glenwood Canyon in Glenwood Springs is back in action for summertime adventures. Visitors to the hot springs town can once again engage in their favorite activities like hiking to Hanging Lake, rafting the Colorado River and cycling the Glenwood Canyon Recreation Path.
Gorgeous Glenwood Canyon is back in the business of outdoor fun after a nearly two-year-long hiatus to recover from damage caused by the 2020 Grizzly Creek Fire. On the docket are adventures that include memory-making vacation activities such as hiking to Hanging Lake, considered a national geological treasure; whitewater rafting on the Colorado River; and biking for miles on a paved trail that snakes through the scenic canyon.
Hanging Lake Opens June 25
The U.S. Forest Service and its partners who manage Hanging Lake announced that the trail will open for hiking on June 25. Visitors can make reservations for hiking permits ($12) through www.visitglenwood.com. The site also has the most up-to-date information about the trail, as well as notices about any closures due to weather.
“We are thrilled that the temporary trail work is going well. Hanging Lake Trail is a bucket list hike for recreators both domestic and international, and we welcome responsible use of this beloved attraction,” said Lisa Langer, director of tourism for Visit Glenwood Springs.
The National Forest Foundation plans to invest $2.28 million in trail improvements over the next three years. Because of its jaw-dropping beauty, relatively short distance and easy accessibility, Hanging Lake became a top Colorado hiking destination; due to overuse, the attraction was in danger of severe ecological damage. The reservations and permit system help limit the daily number of visitors, making it possible to better preserve the delicate environment, provide a better hiking experience and generate income for restoration and maintenance projects.
In 2020, the Grizzly Creek Fire swept through portions of Glenwood Canyon. Thanks to the valiant efforts of wildland firefighters, they were able to defend the famed lake perched on the edge of a cliff, but portions of the trail were damaged by the fire and later by debris flows caused by major rainstorms. While there is still work to be done, Hanging Lake is prepped for the return of visitors this summer.
Rafting Returns in Glenwood Canyon
Whitewater thrills and chills are also back on the list of things to do in Glenwood Springs. Rafting in Glenwood Canyon is a summertime staple in the hot springs town. After a catastrophic rainstorm in late July 2021 that caused major mudslides and debris flows in the narrow canyon, the season abruptly ended for most rafting adventures. CDOT crews worked through three seasons to haul away about 100,000 cubic yards of rock and mud, enabling rafting companies to rebound and once again make a splash with half and full-day whitewater rafting trips through the scenic canyon. Because there may still be some debris in the water, it is recommended that visitors raft with experienced guides, rather than going on self-guided trips this season.
Nature also has been busy regenerating herself in Glenwood Canyon as evidenced by a verdant blanket of new green growth covering places burned by the fire. “Glenwood Canyon may look a little different, but it is as stunning as ever,” Langer said. “Activities like hiking, rafting and biking in Glenwood Canyon are giving visitors a front-row view of nature’s amazing power to heal and renew.”
Glenwood Canyon Recreation Path Open
The Glenwood Canyon Recreation Path follows the Colorado River through Glenwood Canyon for 18 miles from behind the Yampah Spa & Vapor Caves in Glenwood Springs to Dotsero on the east side of the canyon. The path has access to at all four rest areas—No Name, Grizzly Creek, Hanging Lake and Bair Ranch—where cyclists can take a break, picnic, fill up water bottles and use restrooms. Every year the path closes for a short time due to the high-water flows during the spring runoff, and this year is no different. Though the path is open, the Colorado Department of Transportation is monitoring the runoff and will sweep it to remove pebbles and fine sand from the paved surface before opening. Check with local bike shops or call CDOT Region 3 at 970-243-2368 for the most current information on the status of the bike path and weather event warnings.
Glenwood Canyon is open for summer 2022! Add hiking to Hanging Lake, rafting and biking in the iconic canyon back onto your Colorado vacation itinerary. Make plans to visit Glenwood Springs today and learn more about all the fun summer things to do in the hot springs town.
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