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Why Hanging Lake is Worth the Hike

I'm convinced that Hanging Lake is one of the most beautiful treasures that nature has to offer.

By: Haley Bissonnette + Save to a List

The clouds hung in Glenwood Canyon, like the long branches of weeping willows dangling in the wind. We drove, the rain, rapidly hitting the windshield. I imagined the hike to Hanging Lake would be fairly cold and wet, ultimately resulting in that "why did we do this," kind of feeling. 

When we made it to the parking lot, the rain had dissipated, leaving a heavy humidity, that grew warmer as the sun slowly emerged from behind the haze. As we walked to the trailhead, I was overwhelmed by the splendor of the canyon. The rock towered above us, its jagged hands outstretched toward the sky. We made our way onto the trail and quickly began the steep ascent into the mountains. I immediately felt my heart begin to race, both the altitude and my excitement taking over me. We talked intermittently; short conversations abruptly, cutoff by our breathlessness, and stopped from time to time to take in the view and re-hydrate. The trail wound around the edge of the mountain, hidden within the shadows of the forests, and bathed in the sunlight as the path continued onto the edge of the exposed cliff.

Photo: Nicola Easterby

As we rounded the corner, an emerald lake, outlined by the cascade of glistening water falls, emerged from behind the tall trees, nestled against the darkness of the mountain side. My eyes could not grow wide enough to take in the fullness of its beauty. I was stunned into stillness, mesmerized by the colors and details, that had so intricately been hidden within the grasp of these mountains. At the same time, the sun spilled over the water, illuminating the wildly, vibrant hues of green and blue that swirled about the lake. 

Photo: Nicola Easterby

We hiked up a bit further, following the sounds of rushing water. There, tucked behind the pine trees and boulders, was the tallest waterfall I had ever seen. It's thunderous roar poured out over the mountain side, splashing against a rocky pool that spilled over into the lake we had just stood beside. In that moment, I was the small; in that moment, I was truly in awe.

I'm convinced that Hanging Lake is one of the most beautiful treasures that nature has to offer.

Photo: Nicola Easterby

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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