Hiking Trails

Hanging Lake: New trail under construction could reopen by mid-summer

Construction of a new trail to the popular Hanging Lake Natural Area near Glenwood Springs has begun, according to a White River National Forest official.

The approximately 1.2-mile backcountry trail was closed last August due to damage from historic landslides in the burned area of ​​the 2020 Grizzly Creek Fire.

Crews are building a new “primitive” trail, which will feature stream crossings and some scrambling sections over landslide debris, said David Boyd, a Forest Service public affairs officer.

“We hope to have this trail open by mid-summer,” Boyd said, speaking at a Glenwood Canyon repairs event. Boyd did not provide a specific date.

“We will let this be known as soon as possible,” he said.

The flash flood that triggered the mudslide also crippled part of Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon, trapping more than 100 motorists and causing more than $100 million in damage. Hanging Lake itself was spared.

Photos provided by the Forest Service at the time show the trail covered in fallen trees, mud, and rocks. In some areas, the river overflowed, covering existing footpaths.

Provided by White River National Forest
Hanging Lake is closed indefinitely due to extensive trail damage from the July 29 landslide in the Grizzly Creek burn scar.

Forest officials canceled about 15,000 hiking reservations following the slide. Reservations to visit the lake remain on hold.

Restoration work is progressing in part thanks to a public fund launched by the National Forest Foundation. Great Outdoors Colorado also recently awarded a $2.2 million grant to support reconstruction.

The grant includes funding for educational signs about the Grizzly Creek fire and landslides. It also helps cover design work for a permanent trail, Boyd said.

“With this (grant) we will be able to complete this new trail much faster than we otherwise would have,” Boyd said. “But it will take a few more years.”