Hanging Lake Trail Restoration

In late July of 2021, a debris flow originating from the Grizzly Creek Fire burn scar significantly damaged the Deadhorse Creek drainage, including the hiking trail to Hanging Lake. The debris flow covered major trail sections, swept away bridges, downed trees, and buried the recreation area in mud, boulders, and logs. The US Forest Service completed critical repairs to two bridges and specific sections of the trail to allow visitor access. DHM Design and our team were hired to provide planning services to further assess trail conditions, and complete designs for possible trail realignments, ecological restoration at key locations, and new stream channel crossings. Design goals include improvements to flood resiliency, interpretation and the overall visitor experience. DHM and our consulting team are excited to bring the best of our trail design and planning expertise to this iconic and historic tourist destination in the White River National Forest. ⁠

Our approach to the master plan entails working with WRNF, NFF and other stakeholders to prepare a visionary, inspiring and implementable plan that identifies and prioritizes improvements to the Hanging Lake Trail. Our final product will grow out of our collaborative effort to create a high quality, sustainable trail that protects and enhances the natural environment while serving a broad range of users for this and future generations.

Key objectives will include:
• Improving the visitor experience while maintaining the unique character and challenge of the existing trail (visitor interaction with trail, water, shade, bridge crossings, rest areas & waterfalls)
• Preserving the rich historic, cultural and natural features of the site while avoiding geohazards
• Providing sustainable improvements with an understanding of ongoing maintenance
• Enhance flood resiliency, aesthetics, interpretation and overall visitor experience.
• Balancing development with protection of exceptional natural and cultural resources.
Design Objectives utilized throughout planning process include:
• Providing sustainable solutions in alignment with Forest Service maintenance capabilities
• Construction in remote, steep and narrow corridor
• Integration of facilities into surrounding natural environment
• Public safety
• Utilize Universal Design Principles
• Adhere to appropriate regulatory requirements (laws, regulations, codes, etc.)
• Involvement of stakeholders in collaborative planning process