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Hanging Lake Trail

MODERATE 1501 reviews

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 offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October.

DISTANCE
3.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,135 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

Hiked on 1/17, lots of wet snow making the trail difficult at the top. Yaktrax were helpful. The lake was mostly frozen.

13 days ago

Beautiful!

hiking
16 days ago

16 days ago

I was able to jog this up and down in just running shoes with a little caution. It’s gorgeous in the winter! Make sure to go the extra couple hundred feet to sprouting rock.

21 days ago

Best hike ever!

hiking
24 days ago

This has to be one of the best hikes in Colorado. The trail head is easy to access and the trail is short but steep w/ some scrambling. I did see children on the hike so that trail is family-friendly but the steep, sharp rocks would not be ideal for dogs. I completed this hike in about 3 hours in the summer so it was fairly hot - wear proper shoes and bring lots of water. The views are definitely worth the steep climb!

hiking
24 days ago

One the best hikes ever for our family (completed on 12/26). Totally worth every single step to a winter wonderland. Hiked with my wife and kids 12 and 6. We took plenty of stops for the kids on the way up. Some areas were icy and steep. Strongly recommend good quality snow boots with traction devices attached to them. We got ours from Summit Canyon Mountaineering in Glenwood Springs. They were worth every penny we paid.

hiking
24 days ago

You can’t say you’ve hiked in Colorado without hiking this trail. One of my all time favorites!!

hiking
29 days ago

Huge coniferous trees and rushing mountain brooks made this trail gorgeous all the way through. My favorite part of visiting Glenwood Springs, hands down! My mother had a bit of a hard time "going straight up", but even she said it was worth it.

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked 12/7. This is a challenging uphill trail. We are experienced hikers from Boulder and we’re still out of breath! Must use spikes or some kind. You would not be able to use snowshoes. Totally worth the effort - we had the lake all to ourselves and it is just as gorgeous, probably more so, than the photos show. Recommend continuing up to spouting rock after visiting the lake - it’s about a 2 minute walk up to a beautiful waterfall. One thing that doesn’t get mentioned often about this trail is the canyon - it’s stunning, especially in the snow. This hike is definitely worth the hype!

1 month ago

Awesome hike!

1 month ago

My husband and I did this hike yesterday afternoon. We were surprised to see only two other cars at the trailhead when we arrived a around 12:30pm. We saw two hikers on the way to the lake and then had lake/waterfall to ourselves. I thought for sure it would be crowded and was happy to be wrong. The trail was snow packed. Visually, it looked like a winter-wonderland. The trees were lightly dusted in snow. We both had our yaktraks on and I was thankful for them multiple times throughout the hike. Definitely some slippery spots, especially on the way back down.

1 month ago

Love this hike! Did it in 1.5 hours with crampons - highly suggest them! There were a couple people with just boots who made it, but it looked difficult. Had the lake to ourselves :)

1 month ago

Great Hike. It’s worth the climb to the top. Be careful there are some slick spots. We did this as a family. 15 & 13 yr olds handled it well.

hiking
1 month ago

Crampons // spikes are a must. They will allow you to actually enjoy it. After the bottom part it’s mostly pure ice and snow. The lake looks super unique with all the icicles hanging down where the water flows.

1 month ago

Beautiful hike, and worth the climb!

2 months ago

Wonderful hike not too bad, buy at this time of the year I would totally recommend to use spikes, there is plenty of ice at the top...

hiking
2 months ago

Great short hike! There’s still some ice closer to the top so spikes are recommended. Spouting Rock was great little spur from the main trail but well worth it.

hiking
2 months ago

So, yeah, this hike is brutal if you are even remotely out of shape. Even my friend who is in shape struggled. But the view is SO WORTH IT. Don’t give up. I’m a beginning hiker who was rather sedentary up until a couple weeks ago when I moved here to Colorado, and I made it up to the top with my husband and friend in 1 hour and 20 minutes. Took just a touch over an hour to get back down. This time of year is gorgeous because there’s just the right amount is snow and ice. Bring your ice cleats or you will be sorry after bridge 4.

2 months ago

I've completed this a few times!!! I love it, beautiful views and decent hike, despite the elevation change.

hiking
2 months ago

We did the hike in the afternoon on 11/10. Highly recommend wearing spiked boots. It definitely got slick after the 3rd bridge. The trek back was even slippery, with all of us wiping out at least once.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful views! We hiked it yesterday and the hike to get up there is a little rough but so worth it! It gets pretty icey so be sure to wear proper shoes.

hiking
2 months ago

Such an incredible view. Need the right winter gear and shoes that can handle steep icy rocks at this time of year but well worth it!

hiking
2 months ago

Husband and I did hiked this lake on 11/8. The beginning of the trail was paved road then rocky and about half way it’s was icy. But with spikes, it’s very doable. We saw some people with regular shoes, they were struggled but they made it to the lake with us. There are 7 bridges that you’ll cross. The last stretch of the trail was a bit of an incline but don’t let the height intimidate you. Once you’re passed the incline, you are there!! It’s a must when you’re in Colorado!!!!

hiking
2 months ago

The water color was beautiful! The trail is pretty steep, but it’s short enough that we didn’t have any trouble.

hiking
2 months ago

Moderately strenuous climb that is beautiful and well worth the view. Lots of high steps can be tough on the knees. Went today and it was snowy and really icy, wouldn’t recommend without snow friendly footwear.

hiking
2 months ago

Was there on Nov 1st and the waterfall was flowing. There were a good amount of people out so if you like solitude, this isn't for you. It was pretty steep, but short. Took about an hour up, and the same down. It seems easy because it isn't long, but definitely has a steep grade. Note: It was much colder with more wind in the parking lot than in the canyon.

hiking
2 months ago

A very difficult climb but manageable with plenty of stops along the way. Once you make it to the top you're greeted with amazing views. Definitely a top spot to visit.

2 months ago

Stunning

hiking
2 months ago

Pretty intense trail but even not used to high elevations (we live at 400ft) my whole family was able to do this. We had a 6 and 7 year old at the time. This was my kids first real hike and they still talk about it 1 1/2 years later. Absolutely beautiful!

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