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Hanging Lake Trail is getting a redesign, and the Forest Service wants the public's input

The trail suffered significant damage due to debris flow in Glenwood Canyon in 2021. A temporary trail opened in 2022, but more extensive repairs are needed.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. — The U.S. Forest Service is asking for public comments on its proposal to redesign and reconstruct sections of the Hanging Lake Trail near Glenwood Springs.

The trail and associated bridges suffered significant damage due to debris flows in Glenwood Canyon in 2021. A temporary trail opened in 2022, but more extensive repairs are needed for long-term sustainability.

Officials representing White River National Forest proposed trail improvements and ecological restoration to the 1.2-mile trail that would be funded through Great Outdoors Colorado, the National Forest Foundation, and the US Forest Service. 

Proposed work includes the following:

  • Reengineering six of the trail’s seven bridges to better accommodate high water and debris flows, including slightly relocating two bridges to crossing locations that provide better stream clearance.
  • Building a boardwalk at Spouting Rock to reduce erosion and other impacts by guiding visitors on a defined pathway looping around the falls.
  • Minor regrading and rock work.
  • Flood debris removal.
  • Native seeding and planting by hand along the trail to stabilize stream banks and reduce erosion.
  • At the trailhead, removing debris and reconstructing the stream channel to protect the adjacent paved recreation path, restroom, and trailhead facilities. An accessible plaza with seating and shade would also be built.
  • Stabilizing the Civilian Conservation Corps structure along the trail in consultation with the State Historic Preservation Office. 

Work is expected to begin September 2023 and continue through fall 2024. Trail closures may be necessary as work progresses.

More information on submitting comments can be found on the Forest Services' website.

Reservations are required to visit Hanging Lake. More information can be found on Glenwood Springs' website.

“This work would not be possible without the close support from the many partners who help us with Hanging Lake, especially Great Outdoors Colorado, the National Forest Foundation, City of Glenwood Springs, and Colorado Department of Transportation,” said White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams.  “These repairs and improvements will ensure that we continue to provide a world-class visitor experience at this iconic Colorado location for decades to come.”

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