Land managers have approved work aimed at "the long-term sustainability" of one of Colorado's most renowned trails.
Sustainability along Hanging Lake Trail garnered heightened concern after the 2020 Grizzly Creek fire, which burned above the popular waterfall and surrounding canyon. Cleared of vegetation, the fire introduced the corridor to flooding and rock and mud slides that continue today.
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Following debris in 2021 and some clearing and fixes along the trail's bridges, the U.S. Forest Service reopened Hanging Lake in 2022 with notice that future work would be required.
Announced Friday, the "repairs and improvements" set for the trail "will ensure that we continue to provide a world-class visitor experience at this iconic Colorado location for decades to come," White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams said in a news release.
Six of the trail's seven foot bridges will be reengineered "to better accommodate high water and debris flows," the release said. Two will be "slightly relocated" to crossings with better clearance, the release added.
At the destination Spouting Rock, a boardwalk looping the falls will be constructed. That's in line with a scoping letter released earlier this year that suggested the end trail "is not well defined ... resulting in erosion, trampled vegetation and meandering social trails."
The job calls for "minor regrading and rock work, flood debris removal and native seeding" all by hand along the steep, 1.2-mile trail.
Meanwhile, "more intensive" work involving heavy equipment is due at the trailhead, where officials have envisioned "an accessible plaza" with sheltered seating, picnic tables and bathrooms. Also at the trailhead, the stream channel will be rebuilt to protect the adjacent, paved bike path.
Work is slated to launch in September and continue through summer and fall of next year. The trail could be closed at times during the project, officials say.
They continue to urge caution of hazards around the unstable landscape, such as rock fall and flooding. That warning came with an announcement this week about the trail reopening since it was closed May 2 by a mudslide.
Reservations for hiking can be booked at visitglenwood.com.
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