GLENWOOD SPRINGS (AP) — Colorado’s popular Hanging Lake will reopen in June with visitor restrictions in response to the coronavirus pandemic, park officials said.
Only 128 visitors will be allowed to hike the trail to the lake each day beginning June 1, the Post Independent reported.
The U.S. Forest Service and the city of Glenwood Springs partnered last year to reduce the number of visitors to Hanging Lake, a tourist attraction that’s been designated a national natural landmark.
No more than 615 visitors with permits were allowed to access the trailhead last year during its peak season between May 1 and Oct. 31, officials said.
“Opening up Hanging Lake, whatever the numbers were going to be, sent a message that we were open, but we were open responsibly,” said Ken Murphy, co-owner of H20 Ventures, which runs the Hanging Lake Shuttle service.
The shuttle service was temporarily suspended amid the pandemic but visitors can park their vehicles or bike to the trailhead, officials said, adding that each person must purchase a $12 permit.
Hikers will be asked to follow social distancing guidelines, follow designated passing zones marked along the trail and comply with other regulations intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
More than 2,500 people have already secured a permit to Hanging Lake for the coming season after the reservation system went live Monday, Murphy said.
“It’s very integral to our tourism season,” said Lisa Langer, Visit Glenwood Springs Director of Tourism Promotion.