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Hanging Lake trail will reopen May 1 after Grizzly Creek Fire. Here's what to expect

Posted at 5:05 PM, Apr 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-29 20:42:20-04

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. — Hanging Lake will reopen on May 1 after an extended closure following the Grizzly Creek Fire. Permits will still be required and 615 spots will be available per day.

“I mean it was heading right for this area, and it did, and so we actually didn’t know until the next day when the fire was in this area if Hanging Lake had survived or not," said Leanne Veldhuis, Eagle-Holy Cross District Ranger.

Coloradans collectively held their breath when they heard the fire was approaching Hanging Lake, but by some miracle the area around the lake was spared. Burned trees are visible in several places above the lake and during the hike up.

Denver7's Liz Gelardi and photojournalist Eric English were among a group of journalists who were invited to hike the trail in advance of it opening to the public.

"You will see some burned shrubs, you will see some burned grass," said Liz Roberts, an ecologist for the White River National Forest. "It will be very patchy so you’ll have areas that didn’t burn and then you’ll have areas that burned pretty hot so you’ll see this mosaic as we move through here and in fire ecology world that’s actually very good, we want to see that mosaic."

CDOT is warning visitors to check the weather as they monitor the burn scar with help from NOAA. In the event of a flash flood watch employees will be put on standby. If there's a flash flood warning the canyon will be evacuated.

"So pay attention especially in Glenwood Canyon CDOT has a lot of safety measures in place this summer with monitoring for rockfall if we get any sort of rain, weather event you know how might that impact driving through the canyon," Veldhuis said.

Reservations are available online and must be made in advance. The month of May is almost sold out on weekends and officials suggest applying for a permit at off-peak days or times.