GARFIELD COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — If you had plans to hike Hanging Lake your reservation has likely been canceled and you will be refunded.
The access point to the trailhead lies within the portion of Interstate 70 that is closed due to mudslides.
“It’s kind of a bucket list hike,” Ken Murphy said, owner of H2O Ventures which handles the reservation system at Hanging Lake.
Before the H2O Ventures reservation system was put in place, Hanging Lake saw up to 3,000 hikers each day.
Now they are limited to 615 people per day spread out over the whole day.
“The experience is far better and it also helps protect fragile environments up there,” Murphy said.
Mud and debris flooded into the fragile ecosystem in recent days. But what once was a hidden oasis is now a cloudy and muddy pool.
“It’s sad but it’s also part of the natural renewal process for things like fire to happen,” Kelsha Anderson with the National Forest Service said.
With I-70 facing extensive cleanup from mudslides, Murphy and his crew are now refunding and canceling reservations.
“It’s so popular that a lot of advanced reservations don’t have the ability to move people from today to tomorrow so it’s already sold out,” Murphy said.
The closure is also affecting the forest service’s ability to go in and assess the damage.
“Once it is safe for us to access the area, and we get some folks on the ground to look at it,” said Anderson. “A light rain may help flush out some of the sediment.”
But Murphy doesn’t think a little dirty water will deter people from taking the hike.
“The lake is beautiful even with the mud in it and the view over the canyon. It’s still a spectacular hike,” Murphy said.