Located just a few miles east of Glenwood Springs, Hanging Lake is a true gem of the Rocky Mountains. With its crystal-clear turquoise water, waterfalls, and lush vegetation, this natural wonder attracts visitors from all over the world.

Hanging Lake, Colorado

Whether you are a nature lover, a hiking enthusiast, or just looking for a peaceful escape from the city, Hanging Lake is definitely worth a visit.

In this blog post, I will share with you some interesting facts about Hanging Lake, as well as some tips on how to make the most of your visit. So, put on your hiking boots and let’s get started!

Where is located?

Hanging Lake, located in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, is a breathtaking natural wonder that should be on every hiker’s bucket list. This 1.2-mile (1.9 km) trail is known for its steep ascent, rocky terrain, and breathtaking views, and it’s no wonder why it has been named a National Natural Landmark in 2011 [3].

Hanging Lake

To reach the trailhead from Glenwood Springs, take I-70 towards Denver and take Exit 125 to the Hanging Lake Rest Area by following the Glenwood Canyon Trail to the trailhead on the left. If traveling west on I-70, take the Grizzly Creek exit 121 and then head east on I-70 to exit 125 where Hanging Lake is located [1].

During the summer, parking is available at the Hanging Lake Welcome Center at 110 Wulfsohn Road, Glenwood Springs, CO [2].

The hike to Hanging Lake is strenuous but worth it. The trail ascends some 1000 ft elevation and takes hikers through lush surroundings, wispy waterfall tendrils, and gumdrop-green waters.

Hanging Lake, Glenwood Canyon, Colorado

Hanging Lake is known for its unique blue-green color, which is due to minerals dissolving in the water over time [5].

It’s important to note that Hanging Lake Trail reservations are now required, and visitors will be transported from the visitor center to the trailhead by bus, as parking at the trailhead has been banned recently [6]. Cars may park at Hanging Lake only during the winter from November 1 – April 30 [2].

Hanging Lake

Hanging Lake is not only a geological masterpiece but also an example of a hanging garden plant community, making it one of the most popular short hikes in the state [8]. Its awe-inspiring scenery and gentle waterfalls make it a Colorado treasure [9].

The trail may be steep and rocky, but the views of the blue-green waters, lush surroundings, and wispy waterfall tendrils make it a unique and unforgettable experience. With reservations now required, visitors can easily plan and enjoy this Colorado treasure.

We will also answer the most frequently asked questions by users before visiting the place.


How long of a hike is Hanging Lake?

The hike to Hanging Lake is a moderately difficult hike that climbs 1,000 feet up a narrow drainage for 1.2 miles. It takes hikers between 2-4 hours to complete the hike, depending on their experience level and pace [11][13][18][10].

Why can’t you swim in Hanging Lake?

Swimming is prohibited in Hanging Lake to protect the lake’s sensitive ecosystem. The lake’s unique geological formation and the rare travertine-forming bacteria that inhabit it are easily damaged by human interaction, including swimming.

Furthermore, the number of visitors and their impact on the ecosystem led to the implementation of a daily permit system to limit the number of visitors and prevent overcrowding [16][18].

Why is Hanging Lake so special?

Hanging Lake is a unique natural wonder that features cascading waterfalls, clear turquoise waters, and lush vegetation. The lake’s distinctive geological formation is created by mineral deposits from the surrounding travertine cliffs.

@hartofmontana Hanging Lake — Glenwood Canyon, CO #hiking #waterfall #blue #adventureforever #colorado #hanginglake #fyp ♬ Lake Shore Drive Chicago – Aliotta Haynes Jeremiah

The waterfalls that feed the lake come from Dead Horse Creek, which originates in the Flat Tops Wilderness area. The lake’s ecosystem is delicate and features rare travertine-forming bacteria that thrive in its waters.

These factors contribute to making Hanging Lake a popular hiking destination in Colorado [11][16][19].

Why is Hanging Lake closed?

As of March 2023, Hanging Lake is not closed. However, there have been instances in the past where the lake and its surrounding trails have been closed due to extreme weather conditions, maintenance, or overcrowding.

Visitors are advised to check the Hanging Lake Welcome Center or the White River National Forest website for any closures or alerts before planning their trip [14][18][10].

How much does it cost to go to Hanging Lake?

A permit is required to hike Hanging Lake, and it costs $12 per person from May 1 through October 31, which includes self-parking at the trailhead [24]. During the winter season, permits are $10 per hiker [21].

Is Hanging Lake hike worth it?

Yes, many visitors say that Hanging Lake hike is worth it. The hike is known to be one of Colorado’s most visited and beautiful short hikes, and it offers stunning views of Glenwood Canyon and the Colorado River [27][28].

What time of day to photograph Hanging Lake?

There is no specific information on the best time of day to photograph Hanging Lake. However, the hiking permits are available for hourly reservations from 6:30 am to 5:30 pm, and hikers cannot access the trailhead after 5:45 pm [31].

What is the best time of year to visit Hanging Lake?

The best time of year to hike Hanging Lake is from June to September when the weather is warm [31]. However, it is also possible to hike year-round, but permits are required from May 1 through October 31 [24].

Can you drive up to Hanging Lake?

Yes, you can either self-drive and park at the Hanging Lake Rest Area or bike or hike along the Glenwood Canyon Recreation Path to the trailhead [26].

What is the waterfall above Hanging Lake?

There are two waterfalls on the Hanging Lake Trail. One of them is Spouting Rock Falls, which hikers can explore, and even walk behind the waterfall [23].