Hanging Lake Trail

MODERATE 1,455 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
11 hours ago

What a hike! Totally worth it!

hiking
2 days ago

Fun trail, and the lake is breathtaking.

3 days ago

Forget that it’s touristy, it’s not easy. There’s a reason that it’s popular. It’s a beautiful place. The trail is challenging and rocky in many parts. But it’s diverse enough with many shady places to stop and rest along the creek with little waterfalls and birds. The lake and the views on top are wonderful. Have lunch up there. And I got under the waterfalls partially at Sprouting Rock, just 100 feet up. Don’t get fully under, you’ll get clobbered! Loved the hike.

hiking
4 days ago

This was an amazing hike. It could be difficult for some people due to the terrain. It was so nice. Make sure to go early. We got there at 5:45 am and was the first to the lake. When we were walking down there was a ton of people walking up.

5 days ago

Awesome hike but heavily trafficked. Go in early spring or late fall! And hike further for a surprise!

6 days ago

Great beginner hike! This was my first and now I’m hooked.

6 days ago

This hike is amazing. The hike up the hill is a bit of a challenge. The trail is mostly shaded and there are plenty of places to stop and take a break, but I wouldn’t recommend the hike to someone with knee or hip problems or who is a novice hiker. The lake is beautiful! You can see the fish swimming in the aquamarine water! The views of the mountains at the top are beautiful too! However, the trail is crowded and I recommend getting there early. The parking lot gets full rather quickly too.

hiking
8 days ago

I was really impressed with seeing the end of this trail: the geological wonders of a hanging lake, but I don’t think I’d do this trail again. It is a lot of effort and the lake was a little disappointing for all of that effort. Just a little though!

There are also a lot of tourists who don’t know trail etiquette. With so many people around, it takes a bit away from the peaceful nature of a hike.

I noticed the water wasn't as full this time of the year. However, it was a great hike!

9 days ago

My favorite CO hike. Very rocky and steep inclines so dress appropriately. Will definitely be back.

hiking
9 days ago

It is as EVERYONE says! I snagged last parking spot that was a meh-maybe parking spot at 725am yesterday, July 6th. Crowds on trails rival RMNP.

Likes: clear path, good incline gain, nice views, birds, marmots, trout in the lake, butterflies and the murmur of a stream the whole way. I liked that I got it in before the 2019 lottery system starts.

Dislikes: Easily 100 people on the trail. This was at 745-945am!

3.5 stars for me on account of the crowds.

hiking
10 days ago

Rather underwhelming, mostly due to overcrowding. Steep, challenging grade -should probably be ranked as "hard".

hiking
10 days ago

hiking
10 days ago

This trail is definitely not moderate. It should be rated hard as it is a constant incline and super rocky. The view is pretty at the top, but I was hoping for breathtaking after the difficult climb. I would not go alone either as the terrain is a bit challenging at times so if you injure yourself someone will be with you. One and done for me.

hiking
10 days ago

The Hanging Lake was gorgeous! We went early morning since the parking lot near the trailhead fills up early (like 7-8am). It was gorgeous to see the dramatic light and shadows on the mountains around us. The lake was stunning once the sunlight started hitting it!

hiking
10 days ago

Even though this trail has many hikers, it’s not a big deal. There is enough room for everyone. People are very polite and respectful. It’s worth the spectacular views.

hiking
11 days ago

Crowded due to the holiday weekend. Fairly steep incline but relatively short distance.

hiking
12 days ago

Solid hike with vertical challenge and great reward at the top! Be sure to head up a little further to see Spouting Rock, and do it before a lottery system starts May 2019.

hiking
12 days ago

Let me start by saying that this hike has an absolutely gorgeous payout. The lake at the top is pristine and beautiful. We started the hike at about 5 pm on a Friday and still ran into quite a few groups, although we had no issue finding parking. I would rate this trail on the more difficult side of moderate. This hike is a fairly steep uphill the whole was there but the real kicker is the large rocks that you have to step up onto nearly the entire trail. Our group was made up of fairly experienced hikers and it was still challenging to us (granted we live in UT at a lower elevation). That being said, all of us agreed that we would do the hike again in a heartbeat because it was so worth it! Very rarely are you able to see such unaltered and beautiful scenes in nature anymore. PS take the extra five minutes to hike up to spouting rock! It’s pretty and it would be a waste of all of your hard work not to see it!

hiking
13 days ago

It gets a little challenging towards the end, specialty for beginners. Well worth it, keep going for 5 more minutes past the lake for a beautiful waterfall.

hiking
13 days ago

Nothing too extreme but it can be strenuous for beginners. The view at the top is so worth it! Once you get to the lake, make sure you go up the trail some more which has a waterfall and is only 5 minutes away.

hiking
15 days ago

my updated review: this trail was great! Lots of rocks that act like steps, takes about 2 hours. We got started around 8 and finished at 10. Get started early, lots of people. A leg buster of a hike, but it was so good!! Even for the inexperienced hiker plan for extra breaks to catch your breath!

15 days ago

Absolutely gorgeous! Challenging hike that had a very majestic view on top. Would go it again. Plan early as the parking lot fills up fast.

hiking
15 days ago

Got to the parking lot around 7:15 AM on Thursday 6/28 and the parking lot was about half full and getting more full by the minute, so make sure you go early even if it’s a weekday. The hike was more intense than we expected it to be (since it’s very much a tourist destination) so be prepared to hike up rocky terrain pretty much the entire time. We spent about five hours on the trail (over an hour at Hanging Lake itself) and the hike up was cool and shaded for the most part because we went so early. Hanging Lake is absolutely gorgeous and make sure you take a trip up to Spouting Rock while you’re up there to see a beautiful waterfall (the sign for the trail is right before you get to Hanging Lake). Hike back down is pretty steep at parts so be sure to wear hiking boots with a good grip. On the hike down we were in direct sunlight (around noon), so if you’re doing a later hike keep in mind you’ll be in the sun almost the whole way up. Definitely worth the hike.

15 days ago

park in Glenwood or No Name and ride your bike up to the trailhead.

16 days ago

Ahhhmazing!!! It’s a climb but the reward! Breathtakingly Beautiful! It’s a well layed out trail. Rocky and steep at the end.... for people with a fear of heights the very end can be a little stressful! Just do it!!

hiking
17 days ago

The views at the end of this short but challenging hike are spectacular! One of my favorites in CO!

17 days ago

Beautiful but very crowded

hiking
19 days ago

short hike but very steep at the end. the lake is well worth the view. very popular trail.

19 days ago

Trail is a bit difficult but well worth the view!

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