In order to keep social-distancing practices in place, there will be some changes this year.

Hanging Lake Trail is an extremely popular destination in Glenwood Springs and gets a steady stream of visitors, especially during the spring and summer. Last year, a permit system was put in place to control the high volume of traffic the area gets, and it will be used again this year to keep social distancing measures in place.

Hanging Lake has been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but it will reopen to guests on June 1.

The new rules include:

  • Only 128 people per day will be allowed to hike each day.
  • One hiking permit per hiker.
  • Hikers will be assigned to one of eight groups that head out every day. Groups will have about 16 hikers each.
  • Hikers in each group are asked to follow six-foot social-distancing guidelines.
  • Each group will have approximately three hours to hike the trail.
  • To make navigating the trail as safe as possible, there are designated passing zones along the trail. 
  • At the halfway point, which is the main point of passing groups, a supervisor will help coordinate the safe passing of climbing and downward groups.
  • No shuttle service this year, as visitors must park at the Hanging Lake Rest Area, take I-70 Exit 125, then hike to Hanging Lake from there.
  • Visitors may also bike or hike along the Glenwood Canyon Recreation Path to the trailhead.
  • No dogs, no fishing, no swimming. 
  • Do not touch the water in the lake or the falls, and do not stand behind the waterfall. 

Please check out the permit information online for full details and to plan a trip. Permits cost $12 per person and go on sale Monday, May 18, 2020, at 9 a.m.

In 2019, 615 permits per day were issued to hikers; the new limits for 2020 represent a 73-percent reduction in potential social interactions between hikers. The smaller capacity is in place for now and will be reviewed as conditions change.  

“The new measures will employ best practices for social distancing including fewer permits to hike the trail. The reduced number of people will enable visitors to maintain CDC-recommended social distancing guidelines, while still providing a stunning and unique Glenwood Springs, Colorado hiking experience.” Lisa Langer, Director of Tourism Promotion for Glenwood Springs.

Hanging Lake is a designated National Natural Landmark located in the White River National Forest near Glenwood Springs. It has been described as otherworldly and is a unique and rare example of a lake formed by travertine deposition, which is a form of limestone deposited by mineral hot springs. Though a rocky and steep backcountry climb, Hanging Lake Trail is well worth the effort and raved about by all who visit. 

The lake has a very fragile ecosystem, and part of successfully preserving it in its natural splendor is due to the strict enforcement of rules and permitted activities at the lake. 

Always make sure to wear appropriate footwear, and bring plenty of water. There are no facilities at the lake, so prepare accordingly. There's also no cell service on the trail, and it's asked that visitors stick to the marked trails when hiking—no switchbacks, shortcuts, or breaking the crust off the trail. 

What's your favorite part of visiting Hanging Lake? Share with us in the comments!