First Flash Flood Watch issued for Glenwood Canyon for 2023

Travel Advisory

August 1, 2023 - Northwestern Colorado - Rest areas and recreation path closed

Statewide —A Flash Flood Watch has been issued for the Grizzly Creek Burn scar, which includes I-70 in Glenwood Canyon. The watch is anticipated to last until 10 p.m. As part of the safety protocol in place to protect travelers on I-70, crews with Colorado Department of Transportation are closing rest areas and the recreation path in the canyon. During a Flash Flood Watch, I-70 remains open.

During the watch, CDOT will have personnel and equipment on standby in preparation for a closure. Employees are stationed at closure points at exit 116 (Glenwood Springs) and exit 133 (Dotsero). Crews will also be on standby at exit 87 (West Rifle). Evacuating travelers from the rest areas and recreation path requires significant time, so closing those locations ahead of time is necessary to allow a swift and safe evacuation of I-70 in Glenwood Canyon if a closure is needed.

Travelers should monitor National Weather Service updates for the area to see when the Flash Flood Watch ends. The rest areas and recreation path will be reopened when the watch ends. It may be extended if there is heavy rain in the forecast after the watch has ended.

Travelers can view closures for the Glenwood Canyon rest areas and recreation path on First, go to the COtrip map. Next, select the “Rest Areas & Welcome Centers” layer. If the Grizzly Creek Rest Area and the Bair Ranch Rest Area display as closed, click on either rest area to see written information. If the recreation path is closed, the closure will be included in the written information. Rest area and trail users can also check the status of the rest areas and rec path by calling CDOT’s Region 3 customer service information line at 970-243-2368, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Hikers with questions about the Hanging Lake Trail reservations should reach out to the vendor at 970-384-6309 or [email protected]. CDOT does not handle hiking reservations or have real-time information about reservations or parking.

Mudslides in July 2021 prompted an extended safety closure for I-70 for approximately two weeks. Very little flooding took place in Glenwood Canyon in 2022, affecting only the recreational trail. CDOT has conducted extensive rockfall and debris flows prevention work in Glenwood Canyon. Crews will periodically conduct rockfall removal and related work in the canyon.

River Access

Commercial river guide services, including rafting companies, continue to have access to the Grizzly Creek and Shoshone Power Plant exits during rest area and recreation path closures, unless a Flash Flood Warning is issued and I-70 is closed. CDOT and partner agencies continue to coordinate with river outfitters. Commercial river trips are limited in number and closely tracked, and companies can be notified immediately if an evacuation is necessary. Companies with access during rest area and recreation path closures have committed to evacuating their customers if there is a Flash Flood Warning, or mudslides, and have liability insurance in place.

Be Prepared: Travel Impacts

Motorists planning to travel on I-70, visit rest areas or use the recreation path in Glenwood Canyon should pay close attention to weather forecasts. If there is rain in the forecast, it is possible there will be a safety closure of I-70, rest areas and recreation path. Travelers should use for planning an alternate route in the event of an I-70 closure.

Download the COtrip App!

The new free COtrip Planner mobile app was designed to meet the growing trend of information on mobile and tablet devices for the traveling public. The COtrip Planner app provides statewide, real-time traffic information, and works on mobile devices that operate on the iOS and Android platforms. Visit the Google Play Store (Android devices) or the Apple Store (iOS devices) to download!