Hike to Hanging Lake
Colorado › Hanging Lake Trailhead
Added by Nicola Easterby
Get an amazing view of cascading waterfalls surrounded by pine tree lined cliffs and hanging plants. This Glenwood Springs icon is only a 2.4 mile roundtrip hike. If you get hot, you can cool off from the waterfall at Spouting Rock.
Hanging Lake is a beautifully unique natural wonder. Surrounded by dramatic, pine tree lined cliffs, a unique community of hanging plants thrive beside waterfalls cascading in to this glimmering turquoise pool of water. If this isn’t enough to entice you- the trail leading up to the lake is rather delightful.
Following Dead lake creek, there is no shortage of photo opportunities along the way. Dramatic, pine tree lined cliffs, tinkling brooks, and one particularly unique landmark that shouldn’t be missed- Spouting Rock. Found just behind Hanging Lake, it boasts a waterfall that spouts directly from the face of the cliff. The erosion of the water has created a shallow cave, meaning you can basically stand under the flowing water- what better way to cool off after your hike!
Here are the coordinates for Hanging Lake: 39.60165°N 107.191997°W. The trailhead is located along the Glenwood Canyon Bike & Pedestrian Path. Be aware, parking at the trailhead is limited as this is a very popular trail. Try to arrive early in the morning or on a weekday to avoid the parking lot being full. If it does turn out to be full, there is a plan B. You can exit and park at Bair Ranch, then follow the Glenwood Canyon Bike and Pedestrian Path for a few miles until you reach the bottom of the trailhead.
No dogs allowed on the trail.
- but most importantly, do not forget a Camera! This natural wonder deserves to be photographed!
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More
Spring, Summer, Autumn
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We got there around 9:45 am on a Saturday in November - parking lot was about half full. Most of the crowds were on their way down so we didn't have to share the lake with many people. The elevation gain really isn't that bad, and the views at the top are more than worth it.
Went in the winter time and only ran into two other groups on the trail. It can get pretty slippery and I had to slide down some parts on my butt to avoid falling. The waterfalls are frozen / suspended and it literally looks like a winter wonderland!
I almost forgot I was in Colorado
This place is stunning. Even after seeing the pictures beforehand, I couldn't believe how beautiful the falls were. We went in the late afternoon in the fall on a Monday and there were very few people on the trail. Though I can see why it gets busy in the summer months - short hike with a big payoff!
Beautiful but start early
Did this hike on Memorial Day 2016. First, we tried to go the prior Saturday at 5pm assuming the crowds would thin out later in the day with the risk of afternoon showers. Big mistake. There was a line of 20+ cars waiting to park (one in, one out). We decided to turn around and try again Monday morning. The parking lot was already crowded when we got there and it was completely full by 730am. The trail and the lake are both beautiful, so the hike is definitely worth it - just get an early start.
Go in the off-season
Hanging lake is one of the most beautiful spots in Colorado, but I feel like it can't be appreciated with all the crowds. Either do this hike in the fall, or early spring, and if you only have the chance during the summer, make sure you get a really early start. Having this place to yourself will be worth it.
This is a must if you're in the area. 2 recommendations: 1. if you're not accustomed to the altitude, give yourself a few days, it's a pretty steep hike. 2. bring a bathing suit in the summer. you can't swim in it, but you can go behind the lake and get a little wet in the falls. feels great after a long hike .
Get an EARLY start
This is a beautiful spot and a lovely hike that (good/bad/otherwise) sees thousands of hikers in the summer. Get there early or you won't find parking and try to be patient with everyone and let the ranger deal with them when they get in the water in this very fragile environment.
Iconic Colorado Lake
We got there early on a fairly rainy morning and parking was easy, however when we finished the hike, cars were circling for open spots. One of the prettiest hikes that I have ever been on for such a relatively short hike. Very steep in certain areas, but the views are spectacular. Everyone raves about how pretty the lake is, but if you turn around 180°, the views of the canyon are just as amazing. Just a fair bit of advice to the parents of young hikers out there, I highly recommend bringing a hiking backpack with a child carrier as certain areas are steep and the elevation gain can be overwhelming. All in all, a must do hike.
Beautiful hike, just please respect the area
This is a quintessential Colorado hike that takes you to one of the most spectacular lakes around. If you've flipped through a Colorado landscape calendar chances are you've seen a shot of this lake. There is a fallen log in the middle of the lake that looks inviting for walking onto, but please please PLEASE do not walk on the log. The Forest Service has put up signs that walking on the log is not allowed. Not only is this for safety reasons, but also because the ecosystem surrounding the lake is extremely fragile. Walking on the log can introduce contaminates into the water which can degrade the clarity of the lake. I know the log looks inviting, but if you respect nature and want to keep the area preserved for other to enjoy, stay on the boardwalks.
1000'+ Elevation Gain In 1.2 Miles Worth The Effort To See Travertine Lake
Hanging Lake is one of the most iconic hikes in Colorado. If you want to get a parking spot, especially in summer, you should arrive by 7:30am. The distance is short which is deceiving. Elevation gain is a little over 1000 feet in 1.2 miles. But the effort is worth it to see this unique travertine lake. Two NOs to this hike - no dogs and no swimming. Because of the delicateness of the travertine lake, swimming is not allowed. The lake is geological wonder. Natural geologic and hydro-logic processes cause the travertine deposition as has been done for thousands of years.
The (Not So) Hidden Gem In Colorado!
This hike has an amazing payoff! You will gain about 1,000 feet in elevation, just keep that in mind. For me this was a long trip! I was turned away because the parking lot was full.. so I decided to drive to Rifle Falls which is an hour west of Hanging Lake. On my way home I was able to get a parking spot. Turned out to be an amazing waterfall day!
This is an absolutely beautiful trail - the waterfall at the top is a (stunning) bonus :). You will gain about 1000 feet in altitude during the mile hike up, so just a word of caution to people visiting from the flatlands - budget extra time to take it slow and catch your breath.
Super easy hike up to the lake with stunning views! However, I would strongly suggest visiting Hanging Lake early in the morning, and if possible, mid-week! Due to the high attraction of Hanging Lake the small parking lot fills up completely on a nice summer weekend before noon, and high traffic on the small trail can take away from the experience.
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