GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) – Christian Martin brought his parents along for a hike to Hanging Lake Tuesday, choosing to make the journey before mandatory fees and reservation system goes into effect May 1. Jerry Wade visiting from  Erie, Colorado says he was here for the same reason, to get one last free trip into the popular lake.

Photo of Hanging Lake near Glenwood Springs taken June 16 by Lindsey Unhock of Denver

“Trying to get in while we can in the summer it’s a mess we almost stay away,” Martin said.

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Starting May 1, the Hanging Lake parking lot will be closed. Visitors will have to make a reservation and take a shuttle or ride their bikes to the trail head.

“We wanted to beat the rush when we could get in for nothing, basically,” Wade said.

Wade and his wife wanted to get their home in before having to deal with what they say will be a hassle of making a reservation.

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The fees and reservation system is in response to Hanging Lake being loved to death.

“I’ve seen the graffiti on the rocks people carving their name in the benches all along their stuff like that lot off the trail tracks,” Wade said.

This new summer peak visitor system is something the forest service says is long overdue.

More than 6,000 people have reserved permits to visit the popular site.

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