Hanging Lake closed indefinitely due to severe damage from mudslides

The iconic Hanging Lake trail in Glenwood Canyon will remain closed this summer and is unlikely to be open next summer because of severe damage caused by burn scar debris flows associated with last year’s Grizzly Creek wildfire, White River National Forest supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams said Wednesday.

Seven bridges along the trail were damaged or destroyed by debris flows caused by heavy rains last month, and the forest service is planning a significant realignment of the trail, which will require a major construction project.

Hanging Lake, which has long been a tourist destination because of its crystal-clear aquamarine color, currently has a milky green hue because sediment has washed into it, but Fitzwilliams said it is expected to return to is former glory eventually.

“It’s going to clear up,” Fitzwilliams said. “It’s going to take some time. We’ve done some drone flights up the drainages from Hanging Lake, and we have some of the sharpest people in the country reviewing (video from) those drone flights so we can get a better sense of where sedimentation is coming from, if there is anything we can do (in mitigation). But I think we can say clearly to the public that Hanging Lake will be back. It will be back to its gorgeous clear state. It’s just going to take a while.”

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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