We 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).
Currently, 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.
This 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.
Unfortunately, you can’t drive to the lake. You have to park and hike up to it.
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…
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Leave no trace. Pack out what you brought in. There are no trash cans along the trail or at the top by the lake.
Please respect all of the signs and barriers. There are signs everywhere letting visitors know what to expect and the rules of the trail.
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.
It is summertime in Colorado! A beautiful season to explore Colorado’s endless bounty. There are a plethora of activities to keep you busy for many weekends. We have now lived here for almost 4 years and I have to say the pressure can be somewhat insurmountable to get out and go every weekend! With that being said we try to be very strategic with our weekend planning. The following recommendations are what we have actually experienced. With that being said, make the most of your weekend and see some fabulous sites and take some breath takings pictures. Have fun! (By the way, the recommendations are in no particular order).
1. Manitou Incline—So, I saw this glorious incline on Instagram. I told my husband we must experience this immediately! Well, we did and it was quite the up hill battle no pun intended. Very strenuous. However, worth every ounce of sweat and strain. The views from the top are phenomenal. According to http://www.manitouincline.com/
2. Any Alpine Slide or Gondola. We are on a mission to ride as many gondolas and alpine slides at the ski resorts this summer. During the summer the resorts reopen and offer summer activities. A few of the activities that we like to partake in are the alpine slide and riding the gondolas. Why? The views at the top of both of these attractions are unbelievable. The alpine slide and gondola in Winter Park and Breckenridge are fantastic. We did ride the gondola in Vail as well as Glenwood Springs (https://lovelivingincolorado.wordpress.com/2012/03/01/glenwood-springs-gondola-7/). Another plus, a lot of the gondolas are dog friendly.3. Independence Pass. This is a must….period. One of the most spectacular drives in Colorado. Words can’t always express the abundance of beauty that you will experience on this drive. We took 70 to the Copper Mountain exit and followed signage. We looped around into Aspen and I must say that this drive alone could easily sum up why we absolutely love living in Colorado. Just remember to bring a coat and to fill up the gas tank before committing to the pass. There are not a lot of gas stations along the way. Also, bring a camera…any camera, but you must take pictures! http://www.independencepass.org/I will try and post some more summer activities but in the meantime you can find me on Instagram under @lovelivingincolorado or Twitter@lovelivinginco. I update these accounts regularly. Happy summer!
There is so much to say about these wonderful caves. I love them. We try to go as often as possible. The price for the caves is $12.00. Some helpful tips: bring an extra towel (they do provide one but I always bring one from home too), bring a reusable water bottle (extremely important to stay hydrated), and bring a swimsuit (they have swimsuits for rent but I prefer my own).
From the website (http://www.yampahspa.com/caves.html): The Yampah Spa VaporCaves are natural underground hot mineral water steam baths located in the historic hot springs mountain retreat of Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Hot mineral waters flow through the cave floors at 125 degrees F. to create our natural geothermal steam baths. The Vapor Caves consist of three adjoining underground rock chambers. Visitors descend a stairway inside the main building and pass through a stone corridor into the caves. An atmosphere of well-being pervades throughout the soothing stillness of the caves. Relax on slab marble benches in the rocky alcoves, and inhale the natural steam vapor in the warm, dimly lit cave chambers. Stress and tension melt away effortlessly. Cave temperatures average 110 -112 degrees F., allowing repeated visits of 10 -12 minutes separated by brief rests in a nearby cooling room, or upstairs in the spacious solarium. Cold water and small tubs are also available for cooling off in the caves.
The Ute Indians who originally inhabited this region visited these caves for centuries, and regarded them as a sacred place of healing and rejuvenation. The Vapor Caves purify body and spirit as they soothe away aches and pains. The Indians had done much to spread the fame of the hot mineral springs as a wonderful healing source.
We took a drive towards the mountains on I-70 to see some of the most spectacular fallfoliage. We didn’t have to drive far when we happened upon some of the most gorgeous signs of autumn. We didn’t veer far off I-70. Our drive was from Denver to GlenwoodSprings. The pictures are what we encountered on our drive. A definite Colorado must-see!
I love Glenwood Springs! I recommend visiting as soon as possible. The gondola or tram ride is a must for the most spectacular views. The scenery is absolutely beautiful. We took the ride during October.