hanging lake

Hanging Lake: How to Have a Happy Hike

Hanging Lake near Glenwood Springs, Colorado is one of the state’s most popular hikes, but with over 130,000 visitors each year, it’s at risk of being ruined. For the best experience, follow these guidelines.

About Hanging Lake Trail. Located in Glenwood Canyon, the trail is steep and challenging.  Just over a mile long, the trail ends on a boardwalk that partially surrounds the lake. The fragile ecosystem requires special care by every visitor.

Parking.  There are only 100 parking spots. When the parking lot is full, which it often is during the high season between Memorial Day and Labor Day, visitors must either wait for an open spot or return another time. Do not park on the exit ramp or on the lawn; unless authorized to do so, don’t park in handicapped spaces.

Restrooms. There are no restroom facilities at Hanging Lake or along the way. To keep the trail hygienic, please use the facilities in the parking area before you start hiking.

Preparedness. The rocky trail is extremely steep as it ascends over 1,000 feet in altitude; wear proper footwear such as closed-toed shoes or hiking boots. Flip flops can be very dangerous. This is especially true in spring and winter when the trail can be very icy. The rigor of the hike also necessitates bringing plenty of water. Even the most experienced hikers get winded and thirsty.

Prohibited.  Even though signs are prominently posted, it seems Hanging Lake visitors still need to be reminded of the trail rules. These rules help protect the delicate eco-system that supports Hanging Lake, and are necessary for the integrity of the trail and the continued health of this amazing attraction.

  • No dogs or pets of any kind
  • No littering
  • No short-cutting on the trail
  • No feeding the wildlife
  • No swimming or entering the lake
  • No walking or posing for pictures on the log
  • No fishing
  • No standing under spouting rock

Now that you are familiar with the rules, please take your time, model responsible behavior, be friendly with other hikers, respectful of Forest Service rangers and finally, simply enjoy the beauty of this remarkable but fragile natural wonder.

Read more about Hanging Lake frequently asked questions.

Find out more about hiking in Glenwood Springs at visitglenwood.wpengine.com.