GLENWOOD SPRINGS - Over Memorial Day weekend, Forest Service crews at Hanging Lake near Glenwood Springs expect to see upwards of 1,100 people hike the popular trail each day.
During a peak time such as Memorial Day weekend, the lake sees between 1,100-1,200 visitors per day.
District Ranger Aaron Mayville with the U.S. Forest Service begs visitors on this - or any - busy weekend to have patience: patience with fellow hikers, travelers, and those using the parking lot.
Hanging Lake has been in the news several times during the offseason, most recently for extensive graffiti all over rocks and park infrastructure, which cost thousands to clean up.
A volunteer (not related to the USFS) set up a GoFundMe to help defray the cost.
Despite the vandalism, the only closures planned for the trail are for routine maintenance.
Each summer, between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the Forest Service hires six extra rangers to help patrol Hanging Lake.
These seasonal employees go through Forest Protection Officer Training so they have the authority to issue citations if needed.
They are also trained in Forest Service best practices and people management, especially in such a popular area as Hanging Lake Trail.
Their orientation continues Friday at Hanging Lake.
Rangers rotate between monitoring the parking lot and hiking the trail to monitor the beautiful travertine lake at the top.
If you plan to head up Memorial Day, or any other peak weekend over the summer, have patience and arrive either very early in the morning or later in the afternoon for the best experience.
Heading up on a weekday is also a great option to have a less crowded hike.
2017 will be the final year before big changes come to the popular trail.
In 2018 the parking lot will be closed and hikers will only be able to access the trail via a shuttle from Glenwood Springs.
Details are still being finalized, but the changes would also cap the daily visitor number.
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