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Could San Isabel Become the Next Hanging Lake? Overcrowded and restricted

Across Colorado, popular tourist destinations are under threat from crowds. As Southern Colorado grows could places like San Isabel be next to adapt new policies to limit access? (Madison Gill for PULP)

One of my favorite things to do to mark the beginning of summer is take a dip in the natural waterslides up at San Isabel.

I can remember the very first time I visited the waterslides. Recently having moved to the area, I heard about them as most do: from a local. I remember feeling honored to be filled in on such a local secret. I remember the excitement of being on a new trail, the exhilaration hopping boulder-to-boulder with the river roaring inches beneath my feet, the thrill of being swept down the water eroded rock formation for the first time, the brief panic as it dumped me into the shallow pool at its base and the current kept pushing me downriver.

Most of all though, I remember the isolation: not meeting anybody else along the trail, having the waterslide and surrounding oasis virtually to myself, and no signs of humanity beside the occasional fire-blackened pile of rocks that must have been someone’s campfire pit from the night before. That experience, unfortunately, is not the norm nowadays as more and more people have discovered this local treasure and exploited it.

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