Hanging Lake Path might reopen as a “Primitive Path” for now – CBS Denver

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, color (CBS4) – The road to popular Hanging Lake in Glenwood Canyon is covered in debris in many places. While the lake itself is on the mend, U.S. Forest Service officials say it may take until 2023 for the trail to be restored.

“These long-term efforts will take a few years to get through. We need to make an assessment this fall. We have to do a bit of trail design and we have to get crews here and really figure out where the best place is, ”said Roger Poirier, Recreation Staff Officer for the White River National Forest.

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(Credit: CBS)

Fortunately, the lake is already recovering and teeming with life. USFS is working hard to find ways to get the public back there as soon as possible.

“It’s important to us. It is important for the communities we live in and serve to reopen Hanging Lake as soon as possible, ”said Poirer.

The trail will be closed for the season, but Poirer has reached out to some of the best trail builders in the area for solutions in the meantime. A short term plan is in the works.

“We’re looking for perhaps primitive trail options for the public who still want to get up here, willing to take it a little rough like you saw today.”

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Picnic tables are buried seven bridges along with several of the hiking trails. Signs larger than most people have been wiped out, and in some places the trail is completely missing, covered in up to 20 feet of rubble, allowing hikers to scramble, find routes, and cross drainage.

(Credit: CBS)

A primitive path would not offer full public access, but it would be the best option for a short term solution.

Forest Service says Hanging Lake is part of a much larger picture for Glenwood Canyon.

“We expect more sediment, possibly more debris flows. It depends in some ways on the rain we see, but it is reasonable to expect that we will deal with it in the years to come, ”said Justin Anderson, hydrologist with the White River National Forest.

(Credit: CBS)

Anderson had the opportunity last week to take a helicopter tour over the widespread damage. Although there doesn’t appear to be any major debris flow over Hanging Lake at this point, what happened in the canyon has inspired more early warning technology for future events.

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“What we saw is that there was a very effective partnership between the National Weather Service and the Colorado Department of Transportation where the National Weather Service can alert CDOT of oncoming storms, which allows CDOT to close the highway to Keeping people out of danger, ”said Anderson. “That depends on rain gauges, as well as radar and other equipment that the National Weather Service uses. We saw this was effective and believe that we may want to improve the early warning system by installing additional rain gauges or other equipment to help the National Weather Service predict the weather and alert CDOT to the need for a closure do. ”

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