Hanging Lake Trail to close for 3 months

Hanging Lake Trail, one of the most popular hiking trails in western Colorado, will be closed for three months beginning next month as the U.S. Forest Service undertakes a number of trail reconstruction and maintenance projects.

The 1.2-mile trail and the Hanging Lake Rest Area along Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon will be closed from May 1 to Aug. 1 so officials can replace the boardwalk around the lake, replace or repair sections of the pipe handrail on the upper trail, reconstruct heavily impacted sections of the trail and install debris flow-control structures.

The closure will come at the apex of the trail’s use. The Forest Service estimates 80,000 people each year climb the steep trail and gawk at the lake’s clear, greenish-blue water.

“We recognize there is no good time to do it,” White River National Forest spokesman Pat Thrasher said Sunday. “We can’t do it during the winter because of the weather. And construction during the summer will impact visitors. We just had to bite the bullet and do it.”

Officials say the $1.1 million project is overdue.

The boardwalk was built in 1992 and has met its 15- to 20-year life expectancy.

At the same time, the Forest Service estimates 1 million visitors have tread across it, which is far more than they anticipated. Thrasher said the new boardwalk should last for 25 years.

The removal and replacement of the boardwalk will require the use of a helicopter to remove debris and take new materials into the job site, which is why the Forest Service asked the Colorado Department of Transportation to close the rest area.

The Glenwood Canyon Recreation Trail will remain open during most of the construction period, although a few short closures are expected when the helicopter is in operation, the Forest Service said.

Grand Junction-based contractor Tusca II will complete the work on the boardwalk, the handrail and the debris-flow structures. Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado and Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers will rebuild the trail.


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