White River National Forest approves improvements to popular Hanging Lake Trail

Spouting Rock waterfall above Hanging Lake in Glenwood Canyon on Wednesday, June 2, 2021.
Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times

On Friday, the White River National Forest approved a handful of improvements to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Hanging Lake Trail.

With trail improvements and ecological restoration set to begin this fall, the approved project includes reengineering six of the trail’s seven bridges to better accommodate high water and debris flows, a news release states. Two of the bridges will also be slightly relocated to crossing locations that provide better stream clearance.

The improvements are funded by the Great Outdoors Colorado, Colorado Parks and Wildlife State Trails Program, the National Forest Foundation, City of Glenwood Springs, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Forest Service. The project will look to increase the Hanging Lake Trail’s long-term sustainability following the significant damage it faced following the 2021 debris flows in Glenwood Canyon.

“This work would not be possible without the support of our partners,” White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams said in the release. “These repairs and improvements will ensure that we continue to provide a world-class visitor experience at this iconic Colorado location for decades to come.”

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, improvements taking place will include:

  • A boardwalk at Spouting Rock to reduce erosion and other impacts by guiding visitors
  • Rock work and flood debris removal
  • Seeding and planting by hand along the trail to stabilize stream banks and reduce erosion 
  • Removal of Debris and reconstruction of the stream channel 
  • Construction of an accessible plaza with seating and shade

Work is expected to begin in September 2023 and continue through fall 2024. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says trail closures could be necessary as work progresses.

For further information regarding the improvements to the Hanging Lake Trail, visit

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