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. 

Pack List

  • Daypack
  • Water
  • but most importantly, do not forget a Camera! This natural wonder deserves to be photographed!
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Activities:

Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:

Beginner

Season:

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:

Out-and-Back

Distance:

3.2 Miles

Elev. Gain:

1004 Feet

Rating:

Features:

Forest
Lake
Waterfall

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How to Get There

26 days ago

Stunning

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.

26 days ago

about 1 month ago

Winter Wonderland

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!

about 1 month ago

2 months ago

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!

2 months ago

2 months ago

Scenic, yet very crowded.

This is a very very popular hike in Colorado because it is easy and so short to hike. Try not to go during the middle of the day, especially if you want good photos.

2 months ago

6 months ago

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.

6 months ago

10 months ago

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.

10 months ago

11 months ago

Awesome

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 .

11 months ago

11 months ago

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.

11 months ago

12 months ago

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.

12 months ago

about 1 year ago

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.

about 1 year ago

about 1 year ago

FYI No dogs on this trail. I'm a dog owner but it's for good reason due to high use and narrow spots for passing. This place can be just as amazing in the winter but make sure to bring some micro-spikes.

about 1 year ago

about 1 year ago

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.

about 1 year ago

about 1 year ago

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!

about 1 year ago

about 1 year ago

Beautiful and easy!

You would never guess this little gem exists ride of the side of i70! Take the time for a pit stop and enjoy the amazing waterfall.

about 1 year ago

about 1 year ago

One of my favorites

This was one of my favorite hikes we did while in Colorado. There is a lot of traffic, so the earlier you get there the better. It is just a beautiful hike.

about 1 year ago

over 1 year ago

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.

over 1 year ago

over 1 year ago

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.

over 1 year ago

almost 2 years ago

Actually, this is a four season hike. Wear microspikes to do it in the winter as the trail gets packed down and icy.

almost 2 years ago

about 2 years ago

Wow! Looks awesome! Definitely adding this to my list!

about 2 years ago

Added by Nicola Easterby

I'm Nicola, a 21-year-old Aussie with a camera glued to my hands & adventure glued to my feet. I live for sunshine, adrenaline rushes and a nice cup of tea.

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