There will be no permits issued for Hanging Lake this summer.

The US Forest Service had planned to implement a fee-based permit system to visit the hiking trail for this summer, however, it appears the plan hasn't come together quite as they had hoped and has been pushed back to 2019. “We’ve come a long way in getting this management plan finalized,” said District Forest Service Ranger Aaron Mayville. “Great progress has been made, but there is still a lot of work to be done before we can fully implement the plan and the shuttle system on time in 2019.”

The plan was to have Hanging Lake visitors purchase a permit and take a shuttle from Glenwood to the trailhead to alleviate parking pressure and limit the number of people accessing the site. The permit plan has been delayed because of issues finding the right shuttle service provider.

Forest Service officials say over 180,000 people visited last year, with as many as 1,200 people hiking the trail per day during the peak season. The larger crowds over the last 10 years or so has resulted in damage to the area’s sensitive ecosystem. It's hard to imagine but discarded trash, vandalism, people swimming in the lake, and other bad behavior, have continued to the stress to this beautiful site.

So for 2018, things will remain as they have been. To avoid the crowds and congestion, the Forest Service recommends visiting during the week or early in the morning on the weekends. A reminder too, dogs are never allowed on the trail or at the lake.

Some dates to remember; Hanging Lake’s parking lot will be closed May 16 for maintenance. Also, the lake itself will be closed from Sept. 17-22 for dam and trail upgrades.