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Hanging Lake Trail

MODERATE 2421 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 is primarily used for hiking, running, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from March until October.

Distance: 3.0 miles Elevation Gain: 1,135 feet 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

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.

hiking
6 days ago

Did this hike on Saturday, November 30, 2019 while it was snowing and it was such a beautiful and magical hike with the snow falling. Used traction/spikes (Stabilicers are my fav) on shoes the whole way. Hike might have been possible without them since there was enough snow covering the ground but it at least made hike easier not having to worry about slipping on ice that may have been hidden under snow. It was very hot hiking up, even in the freezing weather with just a vest and long sleeve, but there was definitely a stronger wind drift at the lake that immediately chilled us. Pack layers and gloves! My husband and I live in Colorado and we are pretty fit but hike was still challenging; hike took an hour up (from parking lot to lake) and 40 min down (from lake to parking lot) with no major stops/breaks during hike. The extra (but super short) trek up to Sprouting Rock is 100% worth it. In fact, I can’t even decide which I liked better, Hanging Lake or Sprouting Rock. Both were amazing and we had both do to ourselves due to low winter traffic. Don’t forget to get your permit ahead of time, even in the winter. There is almost no cell reception in the parking lot and we were stopped by a Ranger checking the full details of our permit.

hiking
fee
icy
snow
19 days ago

Easy to follow trail. Beautiful lake and waterfall at the end (Spouting Rock). HIGHLY recommend spikes or at least trekking poles. People were sliding all over the ice without them.

Hanging Lake is absolutely beautiful!! I highly recommend using crampons by this point in the year- most of the trail is icy and slippery! I am SO GLAD I rented some micro spikes from the recommended company in the reservation email. Other hikers were hardcore struggling on the way down with normal hiking shoes. As I reached the lake, a group of hikers started heading back down. I stayed up at the lake for 45 minutes and passed that group coming down with about a quarter of a mile left- because the micro spikes made it so easy!

icy
snow
22 days ago

hiking
icy
snow
25 days ago

This is the most gorgeous waterfall I have ever hiked to. BE AWARE: $10 permit required YEAR ROUND since this has become such a popular spot. pay it and help keep the area beautiful!

hiking
fee
icy
rocky
snow
27 days ago

hiking
icy
28 days ago

Gorgeous trail. BRING YOUR MICROSPIKES. Today (11/10) spikes were needed from the 2nd footbridge on. We saw several people take dangerous falls due to ice.

hiking
rocky
snow
28 days ago

Gorgeous view! Definitely worth hiking up! If you go during winter time or when it has snowed definitely get a hiking stick for when you hike down

hiking
snow
29 days ago

I looooved this trail. Spikes are ideal but if you’re really careful have good balance and don’t really care about the law of gravity you’ll be gold without. Bunch of insta models on the way. They’re pretty good at getting out of the way of the hikers haha. Super stoked about this one.

hiking
icy
rocky
snow
1 month ago

We loved this hike - a fun climb with beautiful payoff at the end! We saw many folks struggling with slipping and sliding on the melting snow and ice, but we had microspikes which made for super easy ascent and descent on the icy patches. If you’re braving this trail in the winter, we recommend having spikes.

hiking
icy
rocky
snow
1 month ago

This hike should definitely be classified as hard more than moderate. The elevation change is constant but doable with breaks here and there. The last quarter mile is the worst part mostly due to it being very steep rock ledges that have a lot of ice build up on them. With all that being said, the lake is absolutely gorgeous and worth the hike!!!

hiking
snow
1 month ago

What a gorgeous hike! Incredible views all along the way with the best at the very top of course. Hidden Lake is well worth the steep climb! We hiked the full trail including the spur to the water spout above the lake in 2 hrs 45 minutes including stops along the way for pictures and a breather plus a quick lunch at hidden lake. Definitely a moderate hike for us (In shape 55 yr olds and our 24 year old daughter) mostly due to the length- just 3 miles. Good hiking boots, water are a must. Snacks help. We would definitely take this trail again!

hiking
1 month ago

Hike was more of a boulder scramble up the steep cliff than an actual trail. The trail itself was not enjoyable in the least but I gave it a 3 on the whole for the scenic lake at the end. This was far and away the hardest Moderate Trail I’ve ever experienced, any other place than Colorado and this trail would be classed as Hard.

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

As advertised! Did this hike with the family in 2 hours. Hanging Lake was absolutely stunning, but the canyon views were no slouch either. arguable what was more impressive...

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

Great hike even in October. there was snow near the top, but the trail is so well maintained it wasn't a problem. No crowd and the shuttle is super easy. Dont miss spouting rock!

hiking
rocky
snow
1 month ago

Well worth the time, money and effort. Beautiful even in October! We took the 9a bus and had at least 10 minutes at the lake, by ourselves.

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