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Hanging Lake Trail is a 3 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Glenwood Springs, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from March until October.

Length 3.0 mi Elevation gain 1,135 ft Route type Out & Back

Kid friendly

Hiking

Nature trips

Bird watching

Running

Cave

Forest

Lake

River

Views

Waterfall

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Rocky

Scramble

Snow

No dogs

Description
Waypoints (2)
Contact
Tips
Getting There

NOTE: You must obtain a permit to hike. There is a permit and shuttle service in place from May 1st-October 31st. There is no parking at the trailhead. Please visit the city of Glenwood Springs website for more information https://www.visitglenwood.com/hanginglake/#toggle-id-3 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. 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. If you hike this in the winter it may be icy and you will need crampons.

Colorado Tourism Office, 1625 Broadway, Suite 1700 , Denver, CO, Phone: 800-COLORADO

I believe the canyon walls are so tall that the GPS tracks are not accurate. I have tried to arrange them a little more accordingly to what I can see of the trail on the editor.

Directions from Eagle: Travel 23 miles west of Eagle on I-70 to the Grizzly exit on Glenwood Canyon. Turn around, get back on the eastbound lane of I-70 and head back to the Hanging Lake exit (there is no westbound exit). There is a new large developed rest area with toilets, drinking water, information and parking. The trail itself begins 1/4 mile east of the rest area on the left just before a bridge. There are picnic tables at the rest area and at the trailhead. It is important to note that dogs are not allowed on this trail because of its high use. There are no facilities at the top of the trail and because of the strenuous nature of the trail, make sure you bring drinking water.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (2809)
Photos (1672)
Recordings (1527)
Completed (6541)
Bhavya Reddy Soma
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jul 12 2020
Hiking

Very beautiful place

Andy Gradl
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jul 12 2020
Hiking

FOR PARENTS. Wanted to chime in, from reading reviews discouraging children, that this trail is completely doable for hearty children who are used to hiking. My CO born and trail-raised 4 year old hiked this with minimal help. That doesn't mean that all 4 year olds can and should. Just like adults, know you kids' abilities and be willing to turn back if it's too much. There is a very small, somewhat sketchy part near the top, but it can be managed safely with help and care. That being said, it is steep. What should be written is that children who are not used to hiking steep and rough terrain might have trouble. Just like adults, some can handle it, others can't. It isn't a trail for many kids, but many others will do just fine!

Kara Noland
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jul 11 2020
Hiking

Worth every penny!

Nells Beauty Bar
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jul 11 2020
Hiking

Beautiful morning, it's strenuous but so worth it! Absolutely beautiful!!

View Nells's Recording
Jonathan Lee
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jul 10 2020
HikingGreat!

Hello, I visited this trail back in 2012 before it was so crowded and there was a reservation system in place. Beautiful trail and would like to take my wife there as well but did not realize you need a permit until now. Looking for 2 reservations on the dates of August 5-7. Send me a text if anyone's plans have changed: 832-317-6097‬

Rich Neel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Jul 09 2020
HikingRocky

I’ve hiked many “14ers” so this wasn’t too steep and long so “moderate” was ok rating . However, we hiked with three kids and I had to carry my 5yr old up most of the way and much of it down. My 11 and 9yr olds were definitely worn out by the time we got to bottom. I would definitely rate it “hard” for kids so make sure you have plenty of water and have realistic expectations with your little ones. Took around 3hrs r/t with rests. Would not recommend to anyone not in shape or with bad knees. Top was incredible and also be sure to check out the falls that you can walk under too.

Yurii Land
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Jul 09 2020
Hiking

What an amazing trail. A bit steep incline very rocky but so beautiful and with it at the top.

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Bella Ayala
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Jul 07 2020
HikingRockyScramble

A LOT of up hill stairs but once you get to the top the view is worth it! Some rocks are slippery, but I’m also clumsy so it could’ve just been me. Overall was amazing and a lot faster and easier going down.

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Jenna LaFleur
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jul 03 2020
HikingFeeRocky

Calling to your creative spirit, Hanging Lake Trail, inspires from the very first step! If you’ve an affinity for writing- nature or fiction- this is a place where magic is born. From the playful ever-changing path of dirt trail to stepping stones to rock-worn steps to boulders to bridges, every step upward brings new interest. To the constant companion of the mountain river that sings you multiple melodic rhythms melding from a great rushing river to a gentle trickling stream, and back, encouraging you all the way to the top. To the lush white river forest amidst the mountains cliffs immersing you in the spell of nature’s beauty so deep that of course you must go onward. All of this will refresh your soul so fully that you will actually find a storehouse of energy to embrace the intense incline and elevation not noticing its ominous topographic reality of “straight up.” Every trail section has a spot inviting you to catch your breath where you will find contentment to just “be” there— and might actually stay if it weren’t for all you have heard about the final destination. And every word of those promises is true. The arrival at the opulent Hanging Lake will make you wonder if fairies really do exist. It’s vibrant, healing, unique ecosystem captivates. And it’s possible, if you allow yourself the stillness, to breath in the gift of creation at its core, and re-find your own center reminding you of your own unique calling. A space of connection, to be certain. So have patience with the permit process, persevere, for you will have immense gratitude to all those who have worked so hard to restore this treasured space—it’s reduced numbers brings serenity to the hike. You will feel... maybe even be part of...it’s coming back to life.

Kimberly Pine
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarThu Jul 02 2020
HikingFeeRockyScramble

Here’s some things to know as of 7/1/20: Hiking this trail is now only allowed by purchase of a permit at an assigned time. Mine cost $12. Entrance to the trailhead parking is only accessible via I70 East (driving away from Glenwood Springs) and only let’s out onto I70 WEST. The only place to turn around east of the exit is the town of Glenwood springs which is about 20 minutes away. This isn’t much of a problem if you’re coming from Glenwood and returning after, but is a bit inconvenient if you are only coming for the hike. Take this extra 40 minutes driving time into consideration and maybe plan to spend a few ours in Glenwood as most of the shops have opened up and would benefit from the revenue! Any traffic trouble aside, Glenwood Canyon genuinely is one of the most beautiful places in Colorado, if not the states. The hike is challenging but well worth it. Take more water than you think you need and take please of breaks but don’t give up! There’s one very steep area immediately before the lake, but there is railing here to assist. Definitely go if you can find a spot.

Kim Pham
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Jun 30 2020
Hiking

Kept checking back on the website multiple times to find an available reservation during our travel days to Glenwood Springs. Though 6:30am is early, there was enough light. The Ranger let us wait until the rain stopped at 6:50, but the trail wasn’t muddy or puddly after a couple hours rainfall. As I always say, no shame in trekking poles! For a H73/L44 weather day, it was very cold at the top waterfalls to where all put jackets on. We were thankful for the repeat hikers who advised of the “behind the waterfall” path at Sprouting Rock that allowed a great photo op. Don’t fret over the sprouting rock entrance - once you make it up those initial big rocks, you’re basically there.

Marie Smith
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Jun 30 2020
HikingFeeGreat!

This hike is gorgeous. I have taken this hike many times since childhood and used to do it once a year. I am glad that now there are restrictions and a fee to visit. It has gotten way too over crowded over the years and this place needs to be protected. Maybe now that you can't bring your dog, the foliage around the pathways can heal and regrow. This is a moderate to hard hike towards the end and is not for small children (unless you plan to carry them on your back) or the elderly. Definitely wear sensible footwear and if you try to hike it before June, be prepared for snow and ice.

Daniel Ruskewicz
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Jun 29 2020
HikingRocky

Steep incline. I clocked in 6 miles RT. From walking around the lake and to walking around spouting rock. The rough hike is worth it in the end. Need a permit. They have one person at front gate and a person at the trail head to check for your permit. With reservation. Was nice. I saw total of 6 ppl whole time I was up there.

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Kaylyn Hruska
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Jun 29 2020
Hiking

Short trail with big payoff! The lake is gorgeous, we made it there in an hour. The permit system is great because you mostly have the trail to yourself. Go see spout rock if you have the time as well.

Jenna LaFleur
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jun 26 2020
HikingFeeRocky
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Mirely Torregrosa-Muratti
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFri Jun 26 2020
Hiking

You will be accompanied by the nature music of water streams . Hike 90% shaded , Rocky and steep so can be tricky on your way down so take your time. One parent per kid, you will need to help them climb the rock steps because they can be high. If you have a active kid, is never a bad idea to bring a helmet. Rocks are sharp and if your kid fall and hit a rock , it can be dangerous. Many logs that will catch their attention and make them wanting to climb them. ( not a good idea) . The last climb has handrails that are not sturdy, some are loose and wiggly. Views are stunning!! Bring Bug spray and don’t forget the spouting rock , go under and there is a rock cave like that will take you to face the spouting rock falls . . Enjoy!

Stewart Carnes
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Jun 25 2020
Hiking

I'd give this hike 10 stars if I could. It's beautiful.

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Beth Langhals
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Jun 25 2020
Hiking

Great trail. We had a 11am permit time. We rode our bikes from Glenwood Springs. They have a bike rack right at the trailhead. The trail was mostly shaded which was a plus. Hanging Lake was beautiful and Sprouting Rock was a wonderful bonus!!

Douglas Sears
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Jun 24 2020
Hiking

Would give this trail more stars, if possible. This trail was everything we hoped it would be. Some challenges, but worth it. Varying trail surface and scenery offered a memorable experience

Felicia Marti
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Jun 22 2020
Hiking

One my favorite hikes! We had a 5pm timeslot on 6/22 which I was a bit nervous about because I wasn't sure if it would start to get dark in the canyon. But we had lots of shade during our hike up which took just over an hour because we stopped a lot to take photos and catch our breath. We loved the reservation system limiting the number of people on the trail and felt like much of the time we had the whole hike to ourselves. Everyone we passed was respectful and kind too. Up at the top the lake was absolutely stunning! We also went up to Sprouting Rock and loved that view too. The way down went much faster for us- probably 35 minutes? Overall this is quite an amazing hike- It's steep, and you'll definitely work your legs, but it all felt very do-able!

Jason Michel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Jun 18 2020
HikingFee

Hiked this trail on June 17. I had a 930 appointment time but was able to start a few minutes early. At the gate I was told I could take up to 3 1/2 hours for the round trip hike. There is a 10 minute walk from the parking lot to the trail head. That is where bathrooms are located. The climb up took me just under an hour. I did have to take a few short breaks with the elevation and altitude change affecting me a bit more than it normally does hiking in Colorado. Approaching the top I did use the handrails just to help give some balance to a bit of a tricky part before getting to the lake. It is right on the edge of a cliff. It is very secure but can throw a person off because you’re walking right next to the edge. I went to the lake first and spent about 25 minutes there just soaking in the beauty. Only about 6 to 8 other people were up there with me at a time. Make sure you take the extra time to hike up to the waterfall above the lake. It is quite impressive. Coming back down took less time. Probably took me about 40 minutes but I think I could’ve done it in less. I was not in a hurry to get back down. Definitely give yourself plenty of time to get up and down and take water and snacks for extra energy and hydration. Walking sticks, especially on the way down will be helpful.It is one of the most spectacular things I have ever seen in nature.

Jordan Bresson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Jun 18 2020

I hiked this trail today. The trail reopened on June 1. Permits are still required. Under COVID-19, only 16 people may be on the trail. Please note that if you're driving westbound on I-70 towards Glenwood, there is construction that does not allow you to exit at exit 125. Instead you must continue down 70 and exit at 116, and turn around and get back on I-70 heading east. If you're heading eastbound on I-70, you will be able to exit at 125. This adds about 20 minutes to your trip, on top of whatever Google Maps says. Download/print your permit beforehand because you will not have cell service. In case you forget, there is a park ranger at the entrance with a list of permit holders. Park in the parking lot. The restroom in the parking lot is currently closed. Walk ~1/2 mile down the bike path to the trail head. There is a restroom across the small bridge to the right of the trailhead. There is an attendant at the trailhead if you have questions. I had a permit for 11AM- 2PM. I was allowed to start at 10:50. I came across a few people who I assume were nearing the end or their time slot. Everyone was courteous and leaving adequate space for you to pass. The trail itself was not wet at all, and there was a decent amount of shade. The trail has a nice, steady incline. It took me 30 minutes to hike up and I didn't take a break. I would rate this trail 5/10 for difficulty. Once you reach the top of the trail, there is another attendant there to point you in the right direction. You can continue to hike to the left for 2-3 more minutes and you'll come across a small waterfall. At Hanging Lake itself, it was absolutely stunning and I stopped for about 30 minutes to take pictures. The chipmunks were friendly and got pretty close to me. I assume that people feed them and they have grown accustomed to this (PSA: Please don't feed wildlife). I lightly jogged back down the trail and it was starting to get pretty hot. Took me about 20 minutes to get back down. I highly recommend this trail. It's short but will get your heart rate up, and the views at the end are spectacular. I am really grateful that there were only 15 other people on the trail. It felt like I had the trail to myself!

Audrey Bixler
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Jun 16 2020
Hiking

Did this hike in May of 2019. It was moderately challenging, but we managed it with four kids in tow. The lake at the end was definitely worth it.

Sof Rosa
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Jun 15 2020
Hiking

so beautiful and worth it! heads up if coming from Denver be aware of the construction. It took us an additional 45 minutes to arrive due to the construction.

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