• Hanging Lake in Glenwood Springs, Colorado

Hanging Lake in Glenwood Canyon

Hanging Lake is a crystal-clear, travertine lake located high atop the cliffs of Glenwood Canyon. The mile-long hike is steep and rigorous, but rewarding once you see the natural beauty that awaits you at the top. Hanging Lake is a geologic wonder and is popular with travelers for its awe-inspiring beauty and gentle Colorado waterfalls!

Suspended on the edge of Glenwood Canyon‘s cliffs, the clear turquoise lake and the waterfalls that spill into it are a breathtaking sight after the rigorous uphill climb. This precious natural wonder is one we all must work together to protect by respecting the rules.

Before heading to Hanging Lake, please download the regulations. Help yourself prepare with this handy list of recommendations.

Parking

Because of the popularity of this hike, the parking lot fills early during the summer season and remains full well into the evening. If the traffic alert signs on I-70 indicate that the lot is full, return another time. Parking on the entrance or exit ramps of I-70 is strictly prohibited. Please follow all posted directions at the parking area, on the trail, and at the lake. By observing posted rules and suggestions, we can keep Hanging Lake a treasured site for many years to come.

Contact Info & Directions

White River National Forest

900 Grand Avenue
Glenwood Springs, CO 81601
970-945-2521

Hours

Dawn to Dusk

Hanging Lake Trail FAQs

Visit Hanging Lake like a Local

  • Go early or late: less crowds and more parking in the early morning or late afternoon.
  • Visit mid-week: weekends are crowded, visit mid-week for less crowds and congestion.
  • Ride a bike: Riding a bike from Glenwood Springs is a great way to beat the parking lot.
  • Be Patient: during high-visitation times the parking lot is consistently full. You may have to wait in line!
  • Remember Safety: Parking is prohibited on I-70, remember to bring sturdy hiking shoes and water for the hike.
  • Protect Hanging Lake: Dogs are prohibited on the trail and at Hanging Lake. Swimming, fishing and standing on the log are also prohibited at the lake. Please stay on the trail and do not ‘cut’ switchbacks. This leads to trail erosion and vegetation damage.

The following are strictly prohibited

  • Swimming
  • Dipping body parts into the water
  • Standing under or on top of waterfalls
  • Walking on the fallen trees within the lake itself
  • No Dogs
  • No Fishing
  • Parking Illegally (see Parking Information)

This is because of the detrimental effects of introducing unnatural elements into the delicate ecosystem. No dogs are allowed on the trail or at the lake, nor are they allowed to be left in vehicles at the trailhead. Fishing is also prohibited. It is not only our responsibility to police our own actions and that of our families and friends, but also to gently remind other visitors that may not be aware of the rules and why they exist.

Did you know?

Hanging Lake is a rare example of a lake formed by travertine deposition! Here, the natural geologic and hydrologic processes continue to operate as they have done for thousands of years. Hanging Lake was designated a National Natural Landmark by the Secretary of the Interior in 2011. Since then, its popularity has exploded and the Forest Service and their partners are implementing measures to protect this natural wonder.

Difficulty Level

Although only a mile in length, the trail is steep and very rocky. Hikers should wear sturdy shoes with good tread. Be aware that there is little to no mobile phone coverage. Bring water as there is no potable water available. Be aware that in winter the trail can be very icy. Crampons are recommended.

  • Trail Length: 1.2 miles (one way)
  • Trial Difficulty: More Difficult-steep and rocky
  • Trail Use: High Use
  • Average Time Round Trip: Allow for 2-3 hours
  • Elevation Gain: 1,000 ft.
Updates on Management Changes:

Utilizing collaborative partnerships, the Hanging Lake Area Management Plan has been finalized and with it a way forward to protect this unique resource. A permit and shuttle system is anticipated to begin during the 2019 summer season!

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