GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) – Officials in charge of managing the popular Hanging Lake Trail area east of Glenwood Springs say they have a plan in place to avoid overuse problems.
The national natural landmark in the White River National Forest has gotten so popular that people who want to park at the rest area off Interstate 70 and climb up the mile-and-a-half long trail to the lake sometimes can’t because there’s nowhere to park.
The parking problems are most pronounced on summer weekends, officials say, and they are hoping visitors to the tourist destination will plan out their visits so they are doing the hike at less-busy times.
“Hanging Lake is a beautiful and fragile ecosystem; the area is limited on space and we want to preserve this very special resource for generations to come. As a result, the reality is that we cannot accommodate every visitor at every time,” District Ranger David Neely said in a prepared statement.
Officials said they have seen visitors parking illegally along Interstate 70 ramps and in unmarked areas. They say that creates safety hazards and access issues for emergency vehicles.
The less busy times on the trail, according to officials, are weekdays before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m. They also recommend planning trips before Memorial Day and after Labor Day.
People who want to hike the trail but avoid the crush at the rest area can instead park their cars at nearby areas and access the trailhead by going down the Glenwood Canyon Recreation Path. Officials say those areas are: Glenwood Springs, No Name Rest Area, Bair Ranch Rest Area and Siloam Springs Trailhead at the east end of the Canyon.
More than 130,000 people are now hiking on the trail each year.
Officials said they also want to remind people that swimming in the lake is prohibited and that dogs are not allowed on the trail.
LINK: Hanging Lake Trail