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Hanging Lake Exit Closed to Vehicles This Season (CO)

Posted: 05/28/2019
By: Hattie Johnson

The Hanging Lake hiking trail, located in Glenwood Canyon (CO), has had issues with crowding, illegal parking, and degradation to the lake by the over 130,000 people that hike there every year. A stakeholder group including the City of Glenwood Springs, the Forest Service and Colorado Department of Transportation among others have been working on a plan to mitigate for these impacts to protect the iconic lake and prevent conflicts at the rest area. 

The rest area also served as a put in for the Barrel Springs section of the Colorado River between the Hanging Lake and Shoshone exits. The only way to access the rest area between May 1st and October 31st is via shuttle buses provided by H2O Ventures located next to the Glenwood Springs Recreation Center. Kayaks, rafts, or other crafts are not allowed on the shuttles for this year. The exit (Exit 125 on I-70 Eastbound) is blocked by boom barriers and are impassable by private vehicles. 

American Whitewater has been in discussions with the Forest Service on this restriction to river access. The stakeholder group will convene in November where there will be an official opportunity to provide feedback on the plan and advocate for improved river access for the 2020 season. For this summer please avoid trying to get off at the Hanging Lake exit as the barriers prevent access and stopping in this area is dangerous. The best option to access this section is to park at the Shoshone exit (Exit 123 I-70 Eastbound) and hike up the bike path. 

Please see for more information on the permit and shuttle system. Stay tuned this fall when we will be seeking your feedback on this access issue.

Photo credit: Shane Benedict Paddler: Tommy Hilleke

American Whitewater

Hattie Johnson

Phone: 970-456-8533
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Associated Projects

Upper Colorado River (CO)

American Whitewater is working with various stakeholders to develop a resource management plan for the BLM, as an alternative to "Wild and Scenic River" management.

Associated Gauges

Disclaimer Data Sources
Gage Reading Last Updated
Colorado-4. Hanging Lake Exit 125 (I-70) to Grizzly Creek exit 121(I-70) (AW#37564) 0.1 r.c. 00h18m


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