GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Starting next spring, big changes are coming to Hanging Lake.

The popular hike near Glenwood Springs has run into overcrowding issues in recent years, resulting in damage to the area’s sensitive vegetation, historic resources and infrastructure within the area.

That led the U.S. Forest Service and City of Glenwood Springs to come up with a plan that will include a seasonal shuttle service and a year-round, fee-based reservation system starting in May of 2019. The final decision, which has been years in the making, will also limit the number of visitors to 615 people per day, year-round.

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Through the partnership, additional interpretive signage and other learning opportunities will be added along the trail.

The Forest Service and City of Glenwood Springs say the decision was made in an effort to “protect resources, manage congestion, improve safety and visitor experience and continue to support local tourism.”

Hanging Lake is distinctive not only for its beauty but for its geological composition: a large and rare example of a travertine deposition lake and hanging garden plant community.

During the off-peak season, November through April, the Hanging Lake area will be managed to capacity through a fee-based reservation system. During this time, visitors will be able to access the site with their own vehicles.

Details on the fees, shuttle service and how to obtain a reservation will be announced at a later date.