Popular Grizzly Creek trail reopens, revealing extensive fire damage and unexpected areas left unscathed | PostIndependent.com

Popular Grizzly Creek trail reopens, revealing extensive fire damage and unexpected areas left unscathed

Death, and life, in the area of Glenwood Canyon that burned last summer

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, CO - MARCH 7 : Photo taken the sign Grizzly Creek trail head in Glenwood Springs, Colorado on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. The trail reopened after being closed last August due to wildfire. (Photo by Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post)

Eight months after the Grizzly Creek wildfire burned nearly 33,000 acres in Glenwood Canyon, the surprising thing isn’t how much timber was blackened along the popular Grizzly Creek hiking trail near where the fire started. The surprise is how much wasn’t.

On Thursday, a week after the U.S. Forest Service reopened the Grizzly Creek trail, there were pockets of burned trees, toppled timber, lines of fine ash where fallen trees went up in flames and other signs of the conflagration that swept some 8 miles along Glenwood Canyon on both sides of Interstate 70. Yet much of the hike remains beautiful and surprisingly unscathed.

Jacklyn Groen of Gypsum was relieved to see how much life remains in a favorite hiking destination for her and her husband. She estimates she’s hiked Grizzly Creek a dozen times over the past three years.

“I see a lot of missing trees and a lot of burned areas, which is sad, but there’s still so much life here,” Groen said, sitting at a wooden picnic table she was relieved to see intact. It’s a spot she has often visited for peace and contemplation. “I’m so grateful. So much green. So much hope, more than I expected to see.”

The boundaries of the Grizzly Creek fire went far beyond the Grizzly Creek drainage, which is located about 5 miles east of Glenwood Springs. It affected the Hanging Lake area 4 miles to the east, leaving scattered pockets of burned trees and piles of ash, without destroying iconic Hanging Lake. (The Hanging Lake trail remains closed but is set to reopen on May 1.)

Read more via The Denver Post.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User