Outbound Collective logo

Hanging Lake

Glenwood Springs, Colorado

based on 23 reviews



3.06 miles

Elevation Gain

1168 ft

Route Type



Added by Nicola Easterby

The trail to Hanging Lake offers an amazing view of cascading waterfalls surrounded by pine tree lined cliffs and hanging plants. This Glenwood Springs icon is only a 3-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.

Note: This hike requires permits. Visit the Glenwood Springs website for more information and to reserve yours. 

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. 

Read More

Download the Outbound mobile app

Find adventures and camping on the go, share photos, use GPX tracks, and download maps for offline use.

Get the app
Download GPX File



Hanging Lake Reviews

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.



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!

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.

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.

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.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


Spouting Rock via Hanging Lakes Trail

Hike the Grizzly Creek Trail

Relax at Glenwood Hot Springs

Camp at Deep Creek Campground

Camp at Dotsero Crater

Trail Run Mushroom Rock and Red Hill