Hanging Lake

20170619_184836-01_resizedWe have been in Colorado since 2010 and we had never hiked Hanging Lake until just recently.  We decided that we should probably hike the iconic and quintessential trail sooner rather than later because recent reports of vandalism to the trail had sparked conversations about possibly closing the trail.  (FYI, today is June 21, 2017 and I have read and heard the trail will probably implement a permit system instead of closing down).

20170529_163400-01_resizedCurrently, there is no fee to hike the trail.  The exit to the rest area which will lead you to the trail head is well marked off of I-70.  Keep in mind that this is a VERY popular trail, especially in the summertime and the parking lot gets full very quickly.  Keep this in mind while planning your trip.  Please keep in mind that the park staff works very hard to make sure that the flow of traffic and the parking spots are monitored.  Please don’t get angry with park staff because of parking or traffic, plan wisely to avoid frustration.  Another tip, hike on a weekday if you can and arrive early or later in the afternoon when the crowds have cleared.

20170529_163850-01_resizedThis hike is absolutely beautiful.  The lake is stunning and majestic.  When you make it to the top and round the bend and your eyes first catch a glimpse of the infamous lake, you immediately forget the strenuous hike and realize the best views do require some hard work.  “Hanging Lake is a rare example of a lake formed by travertine deposition where the natural geologic and hydrologic processes continue to operate as they have done for thousands of years. The site is also noteworthy for its thriving hanging garden plant community.” – See more at: http://www.visitglenwood.com/things-to-do/hanging-lake#sthash.CX2kv7QD.dpuf

After hiking the trail twice, reading the multitude of signs posted around the rest area and trail, talking with visitors, and observation I decided to compile a list of helpful tips.

  1.  Unfortunately, you can’t drive to the lake.  You have to park and hike up to it.
  2. Proper footwear is a must for this hike.  This hike is steep and rocky, and the rocks can be very slick.  I do not recommend this hike in flip flops, dressy sandals, etc…
  3. In my opinion, this hike is a steep climb.  Be aware of this before you embark on the hike, if you are with someone with health issues, this may not be the hike for them.  I personally would rate the hike as strenuous.
  4. Hydrate.  Bring H2O.  Don’t let the small mileage fool you, especially in the summer and especially if you aren’t used to the elevation.
  5. Take your time going up.  In my mind, hiking is similar to yoga, everyone goes at a pace that is personally comfortable.  The hike is beautiful all the way to the top.  Stop, catch your breath, and enjoy the scenery.  (There are places to sit along the hike).
  6. Parking is very limited at the trail head/rest area.  Expect crowds, especially during the summer.  Plan ahead, start early or go a little later in the afternoon.
  7. If you show up at the trail head at 7:45 pm in the summer, keep in mind that the chances of coming back down the trail in the dark is highly likely.  Plan accordingly.
  8. Leave no trace.  Pack out what you brought in.  There are no trash cans along the trail or at the top by the lake.
  9. Please respect all of the signs and barriers.  There are signs everywhere letting visitors know what to expect and the rules of the trail.
  10. This is not a dog friendly hike.  Pups will have to stay at home for this hike.

Enjoy your hike and visit to the Glenwood Springs area.  If you hike or have hiked to Hanging Lake, please share your comments, I would love to hear about your adventure.

For more information on Hanging Lake and visiting Glenwood Springs, please visit http://www.visitglenwood.com/things-to-do/hanging-lake




4 thoughts on “Hanging Lake

  1. I’ve lived about 20 minutes from hanging lake for 5+ years and i STILL haven’t done this hike because I like to stay away from tourists 🙂 the vandalism and disrespect to the trail has been so sad recently. people ignoring the stay off the log sign and wading into the lake (damages the very sensitive ecosystem there). hopefully they do start a permit system to help preserve the area! definitely a gorgeous area that can be around for people to admire for years to come.

    • It can be very crowded. We hiked it Monday and arrived in the later afternoon and it was really enjoyable. Not too many people, most were coming down the trail while we were heading up the trail. At the lake there were about 7 of us. Very peaceful. The vandalism and disrespect is out of control. Hopefully, with more people spreading awareness and the permit system this type of bad behavior will cease to happen. I feel very lucky to have experienced this beautiful hike, I hope that natural wonders like this don’t disappear because of human error. I appreciate your comment and thank you for reading the post.

  2. Those are GREAT tips! I’ve lived here my whole life and grew up hiking Hanging Lake with Mom about once year. There NEVER used to be parking problems (never had a hard time), or people hiking in flip flops (is that even comfortable!?) or graffiti (mind boggling!) or people disrespecting the trails (it’s so bad!)…. it’s quite awful what has become of this place. I HOPE that they do permit it and charge for parking. That will greatly decrease the type of people that do those things and decrease use so that it can hopefully recover. While your picture are beautiful, frankly, the color of hanging lake has changed of the years and it used to be much more pretty!

    • Hey there! Thank you for sharing your experiences with Hanging Lake. It always fascinates me when Colorado natives share their memories. I love the perspective. I thought things in Colorado had changed since we moved here in 2010. I can’t even imagine what it is like for you. I wish I would have seen the lake back before overcrowding and overuse became an issue, I bet it was amazing. Hopefully, with increased education and awareness there will be a decrease in destruction. After, speaking to quite a few people on our last hike, I realized that knowledge is power. Unfortunately, people don’t read the signs posted around the trail but maybe increased social media coverage will help to decrease issues up at the lake. Thanks for your ongoing support, I know I have been absent from blogging but I appreciate that you have stuck with my blog!

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