GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4)– Hikers at the popular Hanging Lake Trail used the new reservation system nearly 30,000 times this summer, something local officials say is a win. Glenwood Springs Visitor Center released the numbers from the season on Friday.
The reservations for the popular trail represent more than 75,000 hikers between May and August. The U.S. Forest Service switched to a permit and shuttle system in May.
CBS4 caught up with Evan Reyes and his group at the trail. They used the new reservation system to purchase permits for the hike, which are required year round, not just in summer months.
During off-peak season, the parking lot at Hanging Lake located off Interstate 70 reopened for people to park. The shuttle won’t begin making trips until May 2020.
Even with snow on the ground, the trail continues to attract outdoor lovers.
“My girlfriend is turning 30 this year. We wanted to get out of the city and see some beautiful mountains,” Reyes said.
The group said making plans for the adventure online was a simple one.
“We jumped on the website, it was all spelled out for anyone there. We bought a permit, so I think it was like $40, pretty inexpensive,” he added.
Tourism officials said during the peak shuttle reservation system from May to August was “well received.” The shuttle system runs from Glenwood Springs to the Hanging Lake trailhead.
Drone4 showed the busy parking lot at Hanging Lake was a few weeks before it was closed during peak season. The overcrowding on the trail and dangerous parking conditions were just some of the factors that led the Forest Service to implement the reservation system.
July was by far the busiest month this year, with nearly all the permitted spots reserved each day.
According to the Forest Service, May is the best time to visit to avoid crowds during peak season with only about half the permitted spots reserved in that month.