Local News

Hanging by a Thread: Hiking Limits at a Colorado Trail

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. - An idea that started back in 2012 from the Forest Service is finally coming to fruition next year at one of the most beautiful hikes on the Western Slope.

A 2.8 mile moderate hike near Glenwood Springs takes you to a crystal clear lake.

"When you look on trip advisor or whatever, it's one of the nice spots to come," said Wendy and Jerry Carmack, two visitors from Michigan. The pair came to celebrate their 30-year anniversary and hike Hanging Lake. 

"It was perfect, there were a few people on the trail. It was fine."

But the Forest Service in partnership with the City of Glenwood Springs says during a busy day, the trail can see almost 2,000 visitors walk through.

"Couldn't get ambulances in, graffiti was happening and environmental damage and all this stuff," said Aaron Mayville, District Ranger. 

So they have come up with a plan to only allow 615 people per day on the trail via a seasonal shuttle service.

"From May to October the parking lot will be closed. You can't drive your car. You can only take a shuttle or ride your bike or hike in," said Mayville. 

However the Carmacks feel this changes plans for those out of state.

"I think everybody that has an opportunity to go there should be able to go and there's enough room on the trail."

Mayville says a fee-based reservation system will be made available for visitors ahead of time and can help keep track of how many people can hike.

"In order to visit Hanging Lake you have to have a permit and they'll be an online reservation system that you can do that."

Local runner Taylor Cline, says the plan helps the environment,

"Cause there's bunch of people going off trail destroying the foliage around it and that sucks."

But since he uses the trail so often he says it doesn't benefit those who are local and visit the trail daily.

The Forest Service says ideas such as day-off tickets are still being thought over. Exactly how the shuttle system works, has not been planned out yet. KREX5 News will keep you updated when the plans are finalized. 

During off-peak season the area will still be managed to its daily capacity but you are allowed to access the site using your own vehicles.

This plan will be implemented starting May of 2019.

Video Center