State, federal officials grappling with parking issues at Hanging Lake
The Colorado Department of Transportation, Colorado State Patrol and US Forest Service are working together to address parking challenges at the Hanging Lake Rest Area as the busy summer season approaches.
In recent years the popularity of Hanging Lake (accessed via Hanging Lake Rest Area) has increased. When the rest area parking lot fills up, visitors have been parking illegally along I-70 ramps and unmarked areas, creating traffic safety hazards and access issues for emergency service vehicles.
To help mitigate this safety problem, visitors will be asked to exit the rest area and return another time if the parking lot is full. Alternatively, visitors can also access Hanging Lake by parking elsewhere and using the Glenwood Canyon Recreation Path.
Located in Glenwood Canyon in the White River National Forest, the Hanging Lake Trail is one of the most popular recreation attractions along the I-70 corridor. Over 130,000 visitors hike the trail annually, mostly during the summer months between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
The parking lot fills up on most summer days. Parking on the entrance or exit ramps of I-70 is prohibited and illegally parked vehicles may be ticketed or towed. Visitors are asked to observe all posted signs and closures.
“Hanging Lake is a beautiful and fragile ecosystem; the area is limited on space and we want to preserve this very special resource for generations to come,” District Ranger David Neely said. “As a result, the reality is that we cannot accommodate every visitor at every time.”
To avoid parking problems and crowding on the trail, visitors are asked to plan their trips to Hanging Lake during quieter times such as weekdays before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m., or during the spring or fall. Hiking the trail in winter is not recommended because of icy conditions.
Hanging Lake can also be accessed by parking elsewhere and walking or riding a bike along the Glenwood Canyon Recreation Path. Recommended alternatives for parking include: Glenwood Springs, No Name Rest Area, Bair Ranch Rest Area and Siloam Springs Trailhead at the east end of the Canyon.
Parking is not recommended at Grizzly Creek Rest Area or the Shoshone Power Plant exit due to crowding and limited parking at those locations during rafting season. More information is available at http://www.coloradodot.info/travel/state-highway-rest-areas.
Visitors can help preserve this special place by following all posted directions at the parking lot, on the trail and at the lake. Wading and swimming in the lake is prohibited and dogs are not permitted on the trail.
Additional I-70 travel information can be found on www.cotrip.org . For more information on the Glenwood Springs area, parking, and cycling options, see www.visitglenwood.com or contact the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association at (970) 945-6589 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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