The hike to see Hanging Lake is challenging, but very rewarding. The views from the top are worth every stair that must be climbed. It isn’t a long hike- only about a mile and a quarter- but it is very steep, gaining about 1200 feet in elevation.
Hanging lake can be found in Glenwood Canyon off of interstate 70. This is also a very cool drive as you snake through the canyon next to the White River. Even if you don’t do the hike, the drive is worth it!
There is a fee required and the most up to date information can be found on the Glenwood Springs website. Fees must be paid in advance and you must choose a time slot to visit. When you arrive, you have to show the ranger your reservation so they are able to verify you are visiting on the correct day and time. This helps reduce crowds and helps alleviate parking issues.
As we mentioned earlier, it isn’t the length that makes the hike strenuous, but the change in elevation. The lake is nestled way up in the surrounding canyon but once you make it up there, you can sit at a bench, relax and take in the rewarding views.
The trail is a dirt path that has some stone steps and bridges to cross the river. There are markers and occasional benches to stop and catch your breath. The views while hiking to the lake are also gorgeous so make sure you take them all in!
Once you near the top, the trail narrows and there are some steep drops off to the side. This part does not last long- just a few more stairs and you will be rewarded with the views of Hanging Lake!
The lake is a breathtaking clear blue-green color surrounded by the dark green of the pines, orange of the rocks and white of the bridal veil falls pouring into it. You can even see some fish swimming around in the lake! There are a few benches way up here where you can rest and just be in the moment.
Things to know before you go
- There are no bathrooms or water fountains here. Be prepared before you arrive.
- Good shoes are a must! There are lots of rocks, roots and branches that you can trip on and hurt yourself if you aren’t prepared.
- Pets and bikes are not allowed on the trails.
- You must have a reservation in order to visit. The rangers will not allow you to hike without one.
- Swimming and fishing are not allowed in the lake.
Have you visited Hanging Lake? Do you have any more questions about the park and surrounding areas? Send us an email or let us know in the comments below.