Spared From a Forest Fire, Colorado’s Iconic Hanging Lake Will Reopen in May

Reservations for the popular hike will open on April 1.

Colorado’s Hanging Lake will reopen to hikers on May 1, 9 months after a wildfire scorched the surrounding forest but left the lake itself untouched.

In a press release, the US Forest Service said that it would lift the 33,000-acre Grizzly Creek Fire closure, including the Jessie Weaver (No Name) and Grizzly Creek trails. According a scheme introduced in 2019, accessing Hanging Lake will require a permit.

“We appreciate the public’s patience as we continue to manage the impacts from the largest wildfire in the history of the White River National Forest,” White River Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams said in the release. “We are continuing to work closely with our partners on post-fire recovery and monitoring.” The release went on to caution that hikers could face a higher risk of falling trees, rockfall, and debris flow in coming months.

First reported on August 10, 2020, the Grizzly Creek Fire began in the middle of one of the worst fire seasons in Colorado history and burned for more than 4 months before firefighters fully contained it. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the fire had impacted Hanging Lake, a fragile travertine pond that’s seen as many as 186,000 annual visitors in recent years. In late August, however, an overflight by the Forest Service confirmed that the fire had bypassed the lake while burning much of the surrounding terrain.

Reservations for Hanging Lake permits open on April 1 and will cost $12 per person.