GARFIELD COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Hanging Lake looked like a muddy mess on Friday, the day after massive mudslides closed Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon. Copter4 flew over the typically pristine lake, known for its crystal clear water in the heart of the White River National Forest.
The Grizzly Creek Fire burned close to Hanging Lake last year. The wildfire did burn through some of the lower Hanging Lake Trail but much of the area surrounding the lake was spared.
What exactly happened to the lake during the mudslides is being evaluated. Kelsha Anderson, District Ranger for White River National Forest, told CBS4 that this is most likely recent activity and there is no access to Hanging Lake while I-70 remains closed.
“We’ve had debris flows in parts of the forest where we haven’t seen them before,” said Anderson.
On a typical day, hikers can see through the turquoise water to the bottom of the lake because it is so clear. It is off-limits to swim or even enter the lake.
The Colorado Department of Transportation said the mudslides will keep I-70 closed through Glenwood Canyon through the weekend.
Hanging Lake Trail reopened May 1 by reservation only at www.visitglenwood.com to reduce overcrowding, parking issues and to keep track of hikers in the area.
According to the Glenwood Springs website, “Glenwood Canyon Recreation Path closures have been implemented due to damage on the path from a recent series of mudslides in the Grizzly Creek burn scar. An excellent alternative paved surface is the Rio Grand Trail.”