Popular Hanging Lake causes parking dilemma

As is often the case in Colorado, scenic wonders are loved. A lot. Sometimes to the point that problems arise.

Case in point: Hanging Lake, the popular hike in Glenwood Canyon that’s accessed from the Hanging Lake Rest Area. Its popularity has only increased in recent years, so that more than 130,000 visitors hike the trail annually, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

However, this means that on busy days, the rest area parking lot fills and visitors then park illegally along Interstate 70 in unmarked areas, creating traffic safety issues and hazards for emergency service vehicles, according to the Colorado State Patrol and Colorado Department of Transportation.

Therefore, if the rest area parking lot is full, visitors are being asked to exit the area and visit another time, or to park elsewhere and use the Glenwood Canyon Recreation Path to get to Hanging Lake.

Illegally parked vehicles will be ticketed or towed, according to the Colorado State Patrol.

Officials acknowledge that because of Hanging Lake’s popularity, not every visitor can be accommodated every time.

The Hanging Lake Rest Area parking lot fills up most summer days, U.S. Forest Service officials report, so visitors are asked to plan their trips to Hanging Lake during quieter times — weekdays before 
10 a.m. or after 4 p.m., or during spring or fall. Hiking the trail in winter is not advised because of icy conditions.

If the Hanging Lake Rest Area parking lot is full, visitors can park in Glenwood Springs or at the No Name or Bair Ranch rest areas or at the Siloam Springs trail head, and ride a bike or walk along the Glenwood Canyon Recreation Path to Hanging Lake.

For information about Glenwood Canyon rest areas, go to http://www.coloradodot.info/travel/state-highway-rest-areas.

Information about Hanging Lake is at http://www.visitglenwood.com/hanging-lake.


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