The Hanging Lake Trail is a beautiful hike of a little more than one mile, located just off of eastbound I-70 about 15 minutes east of Glenwood Springs, CO. The hike is strenuous but doable for most abilities. The trail never gets hot, there is a thick cover of trees the length of the canyon, and there are benches spaced fequently throughout the length of the trail for the tired hiker.
The parking lot can only be reached from eastbound I-70 and fills up very quickly. I reccomend arriving before 7:00 if you want to avoid waiting in line. You can also park in Glenwood Springs, or any of three rest areas near the trail take the bike trail that runs along the Colorado River and connects all of those stops and simply lock your bike up before hiking the trail, if you decide to do this, however, you will need to be sure that you won’t be too tired to bike back to your car, and during the spring run off, parts of the trail are closed due to the Colorado River flooding the trail. Once you’ve parked, or bike to the Hanging Lake rest area there is a short walk along the same bike path that I mentioned to get to the trail head. The path is lined with wild rose bushes and other wild flowers and has breath taking views of the river and the Glenwood Canyon.
The sun rise hits the canyon later than it does the rest of the world so you can leave Glenwood when the sun is up and still see the sun rise in the canyon (It’s stunning).
As I said before the trail is strenuous. This is what the most difficult parts of the trail look like up until the final strech. The last bit of the trail is in stair steps. The steps can be quite tall but there are not many of them and there are two places to step aside and take a rest, with more beautiful views of the canyon.
Once you get to the top of the stairs follow the walkway to your right and just around the corner you will see the most beautiful crystal clear lake that makes the whole hike all of the hiking and climbing worth it. There is a walkway around half of the lake with benches to rest on and places to take pictures and admire the lake and the waterfall that is its source.
You may think that coming down will be easier than going up but while you won’t get as winded the steepness will be jarring to your joints so take it slowly and you’ll see things like this waterfall that you might have missed on the way up. The view is different in every season so the surroundings never get boring.
Be sure to also check out By Quiet Waters’ post about Hanging Lake, to find out about the short walk from the lake to Spouting Rock.
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