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Scenic view of Glenwood Springs

Ensuring Fire-Safe Summer Adventures in Glenwood Springs

On the bright side, Glenwood Springs is a glorious adventure town in summer! But those outdoor escapades can quickly go up in smoke with a single spark that ignites a wildfire. Take it from a town that has endured three major wildfires; follow these summertime fire safety tips for a season of fun from now until the snow flies!

With two rivers for rafting and fishing, miles of paved biking and rugged hiking and mountain biking trails, abundant hot springs for relaxing, and a mountain-top theme park with thrilling rides and cave tours, Glenwood Springs is a Colorado haven for warm-weather adventures.

Unfortunately, these adventures can get snuffed out in a heartbeat if there’s a wildfire. While sometimes fires are sparked by lightning or other natural phenomena, too often the cause is human carelessness—a cigarette butt tossed out the window, a semi-truck or utility trailer dragging its chains, a smoldering campfire left unattended.

Do Glenwood Right Fire Safety BannerTop Tips for Colorado Fire Safety

Care for Colorado’s Leave No Trace principles offer easy and essential tips for visitors to enjoy their vacation in Glenwood Springs while staying fire-aware.
• Know Before You Go. Before embarking on any outdoor excursion, familiarize yourself with the current fire restrictions and regulations.
• No Big Blazes. When permitted, use established fire rings or designated fire pits for campfires. Always keep fires small and manageable, never leaving them unattended. When it’s time to extinguish, make sure the embers are cold to the touch to avoid reigniting a flame.
• Go Portable. Consider alternative methods for cooking meals, such as portable stoves or grills, which minimize the risk of accidental wildfires. These methods are not only safer but also align with the “Leave No Trace” ethos by reducing impact on the environment.
• Local Burn. Buy or gather firewood locally. Doing so will save you space in your car and prevent the introduction of invasive species like the destructive pine beetle.
• Smoking Habits. If you’re a smoker, be careful smoking outdoors, especially in dry, windy conditions. Don’t toss your butts on the ground or out the window. One of the biggest causes of wildfires is discarded cigarette butts.

Glenwood Canyon in SummerA Brief History of Fires in Glenwood Springs

Glenwood Springs has faced its share of fire-related challenges throughout history. These three wildfires are a stark reminder of the destructive power of uncontrolled flames.
1. The Storm King Fire. Perhaps the most infamous wildfire in Glenwood Springs’ memory. The Storm King Fire claimed the lives of 14 firefighters on July 6, 1994. Originating on Storm King Mountain west of Glenwood Springs, the fire rapidly intensified due to erratic winds and steep terrain, leading to tragic consequences.
2. The Coal Seam Fire. Another of Glenwood’s devastating wildfires, the Coal Seam Fire ignited on June 8, 2002. Fueled by an underground coal seam, the fire reached the surface where it burned dry brush, flared up, and spread quickly. Ultimately, it consumed over 12,000 acres of land and destroyed numerous homes and structures.
3. The Grizzly Creek Fire. In August 2020, the Grizzly Creek Fire started in Glenwood Canyon, threatening the area’s scenic beauty and ecological integrity. Though officially unknown, many suspect the fire was caused by human carelessness. Fueled by dry vegetation and challenging terrain, the fire forced the closure of Interstate 70, threatened Hanging Lake, and prompted evacuations in nearby communities.

Summertime ought to be a season of fun, not fires. Make every adventure in Glenwood Springs a safe and memorable experience by adhering to Care for Colorado’s Leave No Trace fire safety principles.

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Visit Glenwood Springs

Reservations to hike Hanging Lake are released on a weekly basis every Tuesday at 8:00 am MDT. 

PLEASE NOTE: Hanging Lake reservations for  July 3rd through 7th will be released Tuesday, July 2nd, 8:00 am MDT. 

 Visit the Hanging Lake page HERE for more information and the booking portal.