Hanging Lake, Glenwood Canyon, Colorado

Written by on March 20, 2017 in CO Outdoor Adventures - 1 Comment

Hanging Lake, Colorado
Like to get out in the rugged Rockies? Here’s an opportunity to get some great scenery shots and a little exercise to boot!

Right off of Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon, just east of Grizzly Creek Rest Area and the Shoshone Power Plant, lies one of the most rewarding short hikes in Colorado. The trick to accessing this beautiful landscape is taking exit 125 while traveling eastbound; there is no westbound access. Once at the Hanging Lake Rest Area, hike east along the Colorado River on the bike path for about a half mile to the trailhead. Warning: The Hanging Lake trail is not one to be reckoned with by everyone especially the elderly, children or people with respiratory or heart problems. In its nearly 1500 vertical feet climb in elevation, this hike will get the heart rate going. Although it is only about an hour long hike, Parks Service deems this hike as “difficult.”

The trail follows along a meandering Dead Horse Creek, which some say was creatively named after a dead horse found at the mouth of the gulch. A gold miner who found the horse is said to be the first pioneer to discover the lake. The land has hosted many homesteads over the years as well as a resort in the 1940s. Ownership of the lake and land has changed a few times before finally being released to the Forest Service in 1972 by the city of Glenwood Springs.

One of its many benefits, the trail offers a tree canopy about 150 feet up the trail, which during the summer months keeps the sun off of the back and the temperatures a bit more manageable. There are a couple of options along the trail to venture off into other directions so be aware of staying on the main trail. For example, there is trail that leads to another nice scenic lay shortly after beginning the hike called Dead Horse Trail. There is a small sign posted for this trail; it’s small, but posted.

For those that begin to tire, handrails during some of the steeper walled sections, wooden bridges crossing the creek and benches along the trail have been installed for safety and convenience. But what the hiker came for was the reward! Hanging Lake is one majestic picture frame of adornment. And not to mention, after walking around the boardwalk and out onto the tree limb that nearly splits the lake in two, just above Hanging Lake is Spouting Rock.

While enjoying the herrings, the crystal clear lake and the cooling back-splash of the waterfall please do respect the land and its habitat by taking heed to the ‘No Swimming’ signs posted. One of the most attractive aspects of Hanging Lake is its shorelines. Composed of travertine, they have a milky white, porous coating that brightens the landscape with the reflection of the sun. However, the oils from human skin speeds up the process of the stone’s erosion so hikers are asked to stay out of the water.

The much less strenuous jaunt down is the same trail just in reverse. Be sure to stretch a bit as a whole different set of muscles will be used in the descent. Take pictures and enjoy!

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One Comment on "Hanging Lake, Glenwood Canyon, Colorado"

  1. Katie Adkins April 25, 2010 at 10:55 am ·

    The article makes me want to skip right over to Colorado from Indiana and go hiking.


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