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GlENWOOD SPRINGS CO – JULY 31: A reservation is now needing to hike to the poplular Hanging Lake, on July 31, 2019 in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post)
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Given that Colorado ski mountains received 3-5 feet of snow in recent days, this might not seem like the time to start planning summer hikes. But if your goals include hiking to spectacular Hanging Lake in Glenwood Canyon, you might want to think about making reservations now.

This is the second year of an impact mitigation program designed to protect that fragile area from damage caused by overcrowding. Reservations are required from May 1 through Oct. 31, and that window opened on Feb. 1. During the May-October period, the trailhead parking lot is closed, leaving hikers two options: Take a shuttle from Glenwood Springs or ride a bike. The price for a permit with the shuttle service is $12. Bike riders also need a permit, but they pay only $10.

The hike is a steep one of 1.2 miles with an elevation gain in excess of 1,000 feet, but it’s worth it because the lake is a beautiful aquamarine color and there are stunning cliffs and gorgeous waterfalls.

And by the way, right now is a good time to go. Winter is actually Josh Baker’s favorite time of the year up there.

“Hands down,” said Baker, who handles Hanging Lake reservations. “Both Spouting Rock and Bridal Veil Falls are frozen completely. Bridal Veil Falls is a really cool blue color from one end to the other. Spouting Rock is just a huge gigantic icicle, and it’s the same color, because of the mineral water.”

Traction devices and trekking poles are recommended. Permits ($10) are still required, but until May you can park at the trailhead.

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