Hanging Lake Trail

MODERATE 1,676 reviews

Hanging Lake Trail is a 2.8 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Glenwood Springs, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October.

DISTANCE
2.8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,204 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

cave

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

snow

no dogs

Hanging Lake Trail is one of Colorado's most visited and beautiful short hikes. Perched high in the mountains, the trail takes you along Dead Horse Creek and through the rocky Glenwood Canyon. It is a national natural landmark in the White River National Forest near Glenwood Springs, Colorado that can be reached easily from Denver. The trailhead is at a rest stop just off I-70 and the parking area is right next to the Colorado River. The trail is great for hiking and normally takes 2-4 hours. This steep hike has many large rocks and steps. Don't forget to follow the signs at the top to Spouting Rock, where snow-melt water from the Flat Tops pours out a hole in the limestone cliff. [NOTE: Because of its fragile ecosystem, visitors are not allowed to enter the water or climb on the logs in the lake. Please stay on the trail and obey posted signs in this unique and fragile environment.]

hiking
1 day ago

uphill climb, but rewarding

hiking
1 day ago

Hard hike but well worth the time. You leave the trail head and are constantly climbing to the destination. Make sure you have plenty of time for this hike it’s not one to do quickly. Someone that gets into a hurry could be easily injured.

hiking
2 days ago

PSA: the trail is closed September 17th - 22nd and October 15th - 17th for routine maintenance.

I did not get a chance to hike the trail but I’ve heard nothing but good things!

hiking
3 days ago

The trail is (very) narrow (in some parts), the distance hiked is 6300 feet one way. With an elevation gain of 1000 feet, it puts the average grade (incline) at 16%. Due to the volume of people (500 an hour, on the trail) You'll be pulling over a lot to give others the right of way, or they'll be doing the same.

This hike consists of a trail, with a creek rushing down the mountainside. 7 Small bridges will help you zigzag your way to the top, and although the distance is short (1.2 miles) to the top, the grade makes the hike a challenge. With large rock steps, loose dirt and pebbles. It should take about an hour or two to the top, and your descent will be twice as fast. Take time to enjoy the scenery, it's not a race. Don't kid yourself, take enough water as the natural water isn't pure, bacteria thrives in it.

Many people take an extended break at the top. The water is crystal clear, but not safe to drink. The waterfall hitting Hanging Lake makes this a National Landmark and a great place to zone out. Loved it, please don't damage it with graffiti or trash.

4 days ago

The trail to the top is worth it, though it’s pretty short and soooo crowd. There is a few steep climbs along the way. I would go as early as possible and certainly not on the weekend. In may 2019, hikers will need a permit $ to hike this trail and moreover, they’ll have to take a shuttle to get to the trailhead.

hiking
5 days ago

The trip to the top is worth it! The views to Spouting Rock are neat where water coming through the rocks. The Hanging Lake’s water is clear as I have every scene anything.

Bring water and a snack or two and you will be fine.

hiking
7 days ago

Love this hike. Arrive early to avoid the crowds. Change to reservation / shuttle system scheduled for May 2019 - limiting usage to 615 per day. A welcome change.

Check out spouting rock - unique and impressive - just a short additional distance.

9 days ago

Hard climb if not used to altitude. Take an oxygen can and you’ll make it. One of the most beautiful places on Earth

15 days ago

Pretty difficult if your not in shape, however the payoff is breath taking.

17 days ago

It was a tough but beautiful hike and the top was absolutely breathtaking! A must, in my opinion! The very top was the hardest part of the hike.

hiking
17 days ago

This is one of the most beautiful places my wife and I have ever been!

hiking
17 days ago

I got there at 6:40a on the holiday weekend and the lot was practically empty. Apparently it was full by 7:30 so I’d say 7a is a safe bet. They do let people in as others leave, but they seemed to be waiting a while. Make sure you do Spouting Rock. It’s SUPER short and relatively flat. I think most people were too tired to go up until they realized how short it actually is.

22 days ago

Excellent! Low-Moderate difficulty in terms of elevation gain and terrain but the scenery at the top was well worth it! Hanging lake was beautiful and you can veer off once at the top to get to Spouting Rock for some additional natural beauty.

24 days ago

Incredible hike, and pretty easy. Took about an hour and a half, including spouting rock and about 10 minutes at the lake. The lake is awesome!

hiking
25 days ago

A nice, but really really busy trail. Cool pond and waterfall at top, but not sure why it’s THAT popular. People wanting to be seen in their active wear perhaps... Sprouted rock was my fav part

25 days ago

This trail is quite narrow for the most part, all uphill, and rocky so wear appropriate shoes. The view just right before you reach the lake for me is more amazing than the lake itself.

hiking
25 days ago

Wonderful hike! I would definitely say it's a Moderate hike, but I don't hike consistently. There's plenty of areas to stop for a rest, and take pictures of the lovely waterfalls along the trail. I got there at 7 am, and had no issues with parking, and the temperature was perfect outside. Lake at the top was beautiful, and well worth the hike.

25 days ago

Did this hike a week ago with my best friend. She is a personal trainer and I’m an athlete. We’re both in pretty good shape. We did the hike without rests and it took us around 40-45min to reach the top. Heart rate was up the entire time. The hike was pretty much steep all the way to the top. A lot of families with kids age 7-10 were on the hike. Just make sure to take enough time and water and plenty of rests. For a challenge, this is definitely a good workout. We were back within 1 hour and 15 min. The lake is really beautiful and definitely worth the hike up. You cross 7 bridges so you can pace your energy. We did it as a stop between Denver and Moab, which was a great way to break up the driving! Right off the highway too!

hiking
25 days ago

This was one of the hikes I planned on doing when I came here to visit. Definitely worth the 3 hour drive from Denver! For someone who doesn't hike regularly and isn't used to the altitude this hike was pretty tough. All uphill and a very steep section right before the lake. That said, it is absolutely amazing towards the top. Great scenery of the Canyon and the lake is gorgeous! I didn't do it but you can hike a bit further past the lake and go to a waterfall further up.

hiking
25 days ago

This was one of the hikes I planned on doing when I came here to visit. Definitely worth the 3 hour drive from Denver! For someone who doesn't hike regularly and isn't used to the altitude this hike was pretty tough. All uphill and a very steep section right before the lake. That said, it is absolutely amazing towards the top. Great scenery of the Canyon and the lake is gorgeous! I didn't do it but you can hike a bit further past the lake and go to a waterfall further up.

26 days ago

What a wonderful back-to-nature trail. Couldn’t think of a better way to spend a morning!!

27 days ago

Great hike! Up hill all the way but not hard. Be sure to wear shoes with good grip. Not too busy at 8 am when we started but super busy by 11:00. Totally worth it. Hanging Lake is beautiful and a "must see" +Spouting Rock. Couple people ignored the basic rules of the trail. Totally frustrating - great example of why restrictions are coming next year. Sigh. Beautiful hike, for sure!

hiking
28 days ago

Hard, should have brought hiking poles. 100% worth the pain.

hiking
28 days ago

Reviews here and on other sites are all over the map so I wasn't sure what to expect. As an avid hiker, it took me just less than one hour to get to Hanging Lake (and Spouting Rock above it) and then about 30 minutes back down. (Total time includes stopping to take many photos along the way.) This hike didn't come close to many strenuous hikes I've been on, even though some reviews suggest that. I found it to be a good workout, but would definitely agree with the moderate rating. Hiking poles are a great help in the steeper places.

I was at the trailhead at 6:30 a.m. (on a Tuesday) and was the only person at the lake and Spouting Rock above it for 35 minutes or so, which was amazing. I passed many people on the way up as I was headed down. Getting there early is key.

29 days ago

Great hike, worth the time .

hiking
29 days ago

The view as everyone has said is fantastic and worth the strenuous hike. Colorado has a plethora of these amazing gold mines but it never stops amazing our family when we hike up and see beauty like this!
Wading in the Colorado River after the hike was a lovely treat for my knees and calves.

1 month ago

The lake is beautiful! It can get difficult at points on the trail but nothing too crazy. We are 30 year olds in relativity good shape and didn't need to take any breaks. The amount of people going up and down will give you quick breathers as you go. Highly recommend this trail!

1 month ago

This was a hard hike. Straight up and very rocky

1 month ago

I have been wanting to do this hike since I moved in November 17 and finally made it out that way today!!! Pictures do not do this place justice. Not only the lake but small spaces the entire way up as well as spouting rock! The blue jays were on point as well as some chipmunks which were cute but sadly way to use to being fed

1 month ago

I have been wanting to do this hike since I moved in November 17 and finally made it out that way today!!! Pictures do not do this place justice. Not only the lake but small spaces the entire way up as well as spouting rock! The blue jays were on point as well as some chipmunks which were cute but sadly way to use to being fed

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