Help solve Hanging Lake mystery |

Help solve Hanging Lake mystery

Vail Daily staff
The builder of this shelter along the Hanging Lake Trail in Glenwood Canyon is a mystery. (Contributed photo)

The White River National Forest is seeking the public’s help in unraveling a mystery on the popular Hanging Lake Trail in Glenwood Canyon.

The Forest Service is trying to establish when the shelter on Hanging Lake Trail was built, and who built it.

The shelter is about a mile up the trail. The Glenwood Springs Kiwanis Club put a new roof on the shelter in 1991, but decades of harsh weather, falling rock and vandalism continue to take a toll.

There are a number of possible builders:

– The history of the Hanging Lake area starts with Lumin U. Comstock. He patented two parcels: one at the base of Hanging Lake Trail, and another about a mile northwest of the lake in the early 1900s.

– It is said that Thomas F. Bailey had a homestead on the Colorado River, near the trailhead. Did he build the shelter for visitors on their way to the lake?

– The city of Glenwood Springs purchased 762 acres from the federal government in 1924. Hanging Lake was administered as a city park until 1972.

– A Civilian Conservation Corps camp was established near Glenwood Springs from 1934-1942, and was put to work on reconstructing two miles of the Hanging Lake Trail and building foot bridges.

– The Danforth family opened the Hanging Lake Resort in 1945 at the base of the trail. They ran a restaurant, lodge and a gasoline station. The resort rented horses and burros to tourists to travel up the steep trail.

The resort operated until 1968, when it was demolished for the construction of Interstate 70. The Forest Service then acquired Hanging Lake Park from the city of Glenwood Springs in 1972 and currently administers it as a recreational hiking trail.

If you have any information about the structure, call the Forest Service at (970)945-3204.

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