Want To Hike Hanging Lake? Permit Reservations Start April 1

Photo: Hanging Lake Colorado - USDOT Volpe
Hanging Lake, near Glenwood Springs, Colo., is one of the state's most popular — and crowded — outdoor attractions. A new shuttle and permit system hopes to alleviate the strain.

Glenwood Springs and the Forest Service announced Wednesday that reservations for a permit to visit the popular Hanging Lake in Glenwood Canyon will be available to buy starting at 10 a.m., April 1.

The new reservation system was put in place to help with the conservation of the natural wonder and alleviate its famous parking troubles. It will begin May 1, so there is no reservation required to hike Hanging Lake now through April 30.

In 2018, the Forest Service said that 186,000 visited Hanging Lake. The overcrowding in the area had led to vegetation and trail damage.

The announcement says that online reservations must be made with a credit card. Visitors can also go old school and call 970-384-6309. In-person reservations start May 1 at the Hanging Lake Welcome Center in Glenwood Springs.

The reservation permits are $12 a person. A percentage of the fees collected will be reinvested into the care and sustainability of the rare geological formation in the heart of Glenwood Canyon.

The new system requires guests to make reservations before visiting, use a shuttle service to access the lake during the peak season (May 1-Oct. 31) and caps visitors to 615 people per day.

If you want to hike or bike to Hanging Lake, you will still need a permit reservation.

The 2019 Hanging Lake shuttle season runs from May 1 - Oct. 31, daily from 6:45 a.m. to 8 p.m. Shuttles will leave from the Hanging Lake Welcome Center and drop off visitors at the Hanging Lake trailhead.

After the reservation launch, visitors are still required to use the reservation system during the off-peak season, Nov. 1-April 30. The cost is $10 a person and visitors can park their cars at the trailhead. 

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