Proposed Visitor Cap at Hanging Lake Released

The Forest Service plan includes a new reservation system and shuttle for the hugely popular Glenwood Springs hike.

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Hanging Lake, CO
Hanging Lakesenthil kumar

Hanging Lake, a super-popular trail outside Glenwood Springs, will get a lot less crowded if a recently released U.S. Forest Service proposal is enacted: The draft decision would cap visitors at 615 per day, add a reservation and permit system, and implement a shuttle during the peak season. The plan must now go through a formal objection process.

Hanging Lake, which was private until 1910, has become a bucket-list destination for many hikers, driven partially by exposure on Instagram and other social media platforms. The destination currently receives upwards of 1,000 visitors on some days. Excessive visitation has had a measurable impact on the area’s delicate geology and plant life, and a percentage of hikers have frequently cut switchbacks and swam in the lake despite bans on doing both. 

In summer of 2017, Liquido Active, a Brazilian sportswear company, earned backlash from local hikers after it posted a picture of one of its photographers wading into the lake to capture pictures of a model sitting on a log.