Wanted: A contractor to reconstruct the Hanging Lake Trail in Glenwood Canyon

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
The Hanging Lake trailhead exit in Glenwood Canyon on Friday, Aug. 21, 2020.

The National Forest Foundation is seeking a contractor that will carry out a planned reconstruction of the Hanging Lake Trail in Glenwood Canyon. 

The trail that leads to one of Colorado’s most iconic natural landmarks was damaged during a 2021 mudslide that started in the Grizzly Creek fire burn scar. The trail was closed for about a year while forest officials worked to restore trails, bridges and barriers swept away during the mudslide. 

While a temporary trail up to the popular crystal clear lake has since reopened, the United States Forest Service has proposed a multimillion-dollar renovation to create a more “sustainable, resilient, and safe” experience. In addition to the mudslide, heavy visitation to the area has also damaged the trail.

The plan calls for designs that would head off potential flooding, including building bridges better suited to high water and debris flow. The plan will also include replanting native vegetation, erosion prevention, and a redesign of the trailhead.

Construction on the new trail is expected to start in spring, but first, forest officials need to hire a team of contractors to head up the project. The National Forest Foundation is accepting contractor bids until December 11. The NFF expects competitive bids to be around $3 million. 

“Access up the steep, rocky canyon is difficult,” a release from the NFF said. “Trail reconstruction will require a significant amount of rock work be completed by hand, with limits to protect sensitive resources. Experience working in other sensitive, high-visitation environments will be critical to the successful reconstruction of the Hanging Lake trail.”

Construction is expected to take place between April and November. Trail closures will be necessary, but forest officials plan to minimize the amount of time the trail is closed to the public.