Big changes proposed for iconic Hanging Lake trail in Glenwood Canyon |

Big changes proposed for iconic Hanging Lake trail in Glenwood Canyon

The $2.4 million project would provide long-term sustainability in area severely damaged by 2021 floods

John Meyer
The Denver Post
Tom Cogger, right, and Forrest Gale, in back, trail builders with Summit to Sea Trails, work on replacing Bridge No. 2 on the trail to Hanging Lake in 2022. The iconic trail in Glenwood Canyon was heavily damaged in July 2021 by torrential rains and flooding, and the old Bridge No. 2 was swept off its abutments into the creek. On Wednesday, forest service officials announced long-term improvement plans.
Helen H. Richardson/Denver Post

GLENWOOD CANYON — Details of $2.4 million in proposed improvements to the Hanging Lake trail in Glenwood Canyon have been released by officials of the White River National Forest.

The iconic trail was heavily damaged in the summer of 2021 when torrential rains caused massive debris flows in the burn scar left by the Grizzly Creek wildfire the previous summer. Trail crews reestablished a temporary “primitive trail” last spring that was reopened in June, with the forest service making plans for permanent long-term improvements designed to modernize the trail and make it less susceptible to damage from flash flood events.

If approved following a public comment period, the forest service plans to begin trail work in September with the expectation of finishing the project in the fall of 2024. Funding will come from Great Outdoors Colorado, the National Forest Foundation and the forest service.

“Proposed work includes reengineering six of the trail’s seven bridges to better accommodate high water and debris flows,” according to a forest service news release. “Two of the bridges would also be slightly relocated to crossing locations that provide better stream clearance. A boardwalk is proposed at Spouting Rock to reduce erosion and other impacts by guiding visitors on a defined pathway looping around the falls. Minor regrading and rock work, flood debris removal, and native seeding and planting would occur by hand along the trail to stabilize stream banks and reduce erosion. At the trailhead, debris would be removed and the stream channel reconstructed to protect the adjacent paved recreation path, restrooms, and trailhead facilities. An accessible plaza with seating and shade would be constructed.”

If approved, Great Outdoors Colorado will provide $2.05 million to fund the project. The White River National Forest would provide $300,000 and the National Forest Foundation $50,000.

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