Extremely popular site will limit access to manage the impact on the ecosystem. 

The first day of April is not just April Fool's Day. Mark your calendars for April 1 when the new Hanging Lake reservation system will go into effect. If you are planning to visit this summer, you will want to go online and make your reservations as early as possible. The new system will start bringing people into the site on May 1 (which means you can still access the parking lot in your own car until April 30).

In a much-discussed move, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) made the decision a while back to implement a visitor cap and reservation system to Hanging Lake Trail. The plan includes having a capacity of 615 visitors per day, all year-round; a fee-based reservation system; and a shuttle system from H2O Ventures, which will be used to help manage the number of guests during the peak season (May 1 to October 1). 

You can read the full management plan for Hanging Lake here, which is going into effect this spring.

This new reservation system is a partnership between the USFS and the city of Glenwood Springs. As the Hanging Lake parking lot will now be closed to personal vehicles during peak season, hopeful hikers can make a reservation to take a shuttle from Glenwood Springs, at a cost of $12 per person. Cyclists will be allowed to ride to the trailhead, but they still need to make a reservation. 

“After years of planning and substantial interest and support from the community, I couldn’t be happier to be reaching this major milestone for Hanging Lake,” said Aaron Mayville, Eagle-Holy Cross District Ranger in a statement. “The shared stewardship between the Forest Service, the City of Glenwood Springs and H2O Ventures will improve the visitor experience and the ecological health of the trail and the lake.”

Hanging Lake

Courtesy of VisitGlenwood.com.

Shuttles will run from the Hanging Lake Welcome Center, which opens May 1 in Glenwood. The center will provide visitors with free parking. Off-peak-season (Nov. 1 - April 30) visitors will be able to forego the shuttle and park in the Hanging Lake parking lot, but they will still have to make reservations and pay a $10 fee. 

Reservations open April 1 and can be made online at visitglenwood.com/hanginglake. Read more about the shuttle service and frequently asked questions of the new system here

What do you think? Are you yay or nay for the reservation system for Hanging Lake? Will you be visiting this year? Let us know in the comments.

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