hiking the hanging lake trail in colorado

Hiking to Hanging Lake in Colorado

This post is about one of the best hikes in Colorado that I did during my trip. I’m talking about hiking to Hanging Lake near Glenwood Spring in Colorado. Unfortunately, at the time of updating this article is is closed due to mudslides and may or may not reopen in 2022. Find more information on the Colorado website.
“Hanging Lake is a rare example of a lake formed by travertine deposition where the natural geologic and hydro-logic processes continue to operate as they have done throughout the history of the lake.”
(Confession: I took this off the internet, I could never have written this myself with my tourist-English…).
hiking to hanging lake trail in colorado

What Lonely Planet says

Lonely Planet describes hiking to Hanging Lake as strenuous and steep so we knew were up for something. At least, that’s what we figured. After finding a parking spot with our large SUV (which can be a real challenge during the weekends) we put on our hiking boots and up we went. Through a lush forest, along a crystal clear stream and across huge boulders. Up, up and more up, it was just about always up. It was a great walk, not too hard (definitely not strenuous) and we were up quick enough, in less than an hour, but we walked in a pretty swift pace. We only had a limited amount of time on this trail as we still needed to drive out to Moab the same day so we brought our hiking poles, drawing lots of attention from our fellow hikers. Apparently, not many people hike with poles, at least not on this trail …
We had seen pictures of the end of the trail before but yet this didn’t prepare us for the magic we were about to see. When we made the last steps on the natural stairs up, this magnificent piece of nature opened up in front of us:
hiking to hanging lake trail in colorado

hiking the hanging lake trail in colorado

hiking to hanging lake trail in colorado

Enjoying the beauty

After we took plenty of pictures while trying to avoid the crowds, we just sat down for a while and enjoyed the beauty. Just when we were about to start our descent again, another visitor told us that we should hike up Spouting Rock, a bit further up on the trail. It was a little bit further only but totally gorgeous, too. Here we cooled down underneath another waterfall for a bit and played with some squirrels. In Holland, we don’t get squirrels, so I always get super excited when I see one. And nope, I’ve never fed one, don’t worry about that!
After that, we kind of had to rush down again and make our way over to Moab for the rest of the afternoon. Although it was just a short visit, this trail will be in our memories forever and will always be one of my personal favorites! I just did not expect to see such a masterpiece of beauty up at the trail end. If you are ever in Colorado, make sure to make this hike a total priority, to date hiking to Hanging Lake was definitely one of our favorite outdoor activities on our trip!
hiking to hanging lake trail in colorado

hiking to hanging lake trail in colorado

Here are our tips and tricks for hiking to Hanging Lake in Colorado:

– The trailhead is located 10 miles east of Glenwood Springs, take exit 8 on I-70 to get there.
– Try to avoid the crowds by heading out early or during weekdays. When the parking lot is full there is no overflow parking area.
– The trail is a little about 5 kms (or 3 miles) return, the trip up and down took us about 2 hrs (without stops). The elevation gain is 320 meters or 1.050 feet.
– Definetely make add-on to Spouting Rock, well worth it, even if you are short on time, which will be another 15 minutes one-way.
– Note that you will need a trail permit which can be found here.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *