Hanging Lake Trail

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Connects: Glenwood Canyon, Hanging Lake Rest Area, Glenwood Canyon Trail, Dead Horse Creek, Dead Horse Trail, Hanging Lake (7,175 ft), Spouting Rock (7,323 ft)

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Hanging Lake

Hanging Lake is a National Natural Landmark

Glenwood Canyon & Hanging Lake Trail MapHanging Lake Trail Map

Glenwood Springs, CO – Hard – 1.2 Miles – Hike – Rocky/Dirt

Hanging Lake Trail #1850 is a difficult trail you can hike to see Hanging Lake (Bridal Veil Falls) and Spouting Rock. Hanging Lake is a National Natural Landmark, one of only 14 in the state of Colorado. This is a 1.2 mile rocky/dirt trail in the Glenwood Canyon near Glenwood Springs, CO.

Please:
No dogs.
No fishing.
Stay out of the water.

Why are there so many rules at Hanging Lake?:
“This 1.5 acre lake was formed by a geologic fault which caused the lake bed to drop away from the valley floor above. Water flows into the lake over Bridal Veil Falls. The lake edge is built up from dissolved carbonates which are deposited on the shore as the water flows over. Body oils in the water stop this deposition.”
-Excerpt from the Forest Service Recreation Quicksheet on Hanging Lake

To get to the trailhead from Glenwood Springs, travel east on I-70 towards Denver. In 9 miles, take Exit 125 to the Hanging Lake Rest Area (Exit 125 is only accessible from eastbound I-70). From the rest area, follow the Glenwood Canyon Trail 0.40 miles to the trailhead on the left.

News about Hanging Lake can be found at:
Post Independent (August 22, 2017) – Hanging Lake plan limits visitors to 615 a day, requires permit
Post Independent (January 31, 2017) – Options to fight Hanging Lake overuse may include shuttle, reservations
Post Independent (March 31, 2016) – Harnessing social media to #SaveHangingLake
Post Independent (August 6, 2015) – ‘Unsustainable’ crowds up 60% this year at Hanging Lake
Post Independent (July 6, 2015) – Hanging Lake Park was a social hub in the canyon
Post Independent (September 27, 2014) – Hanging Lake crowds threaten fragile ecosystem
Post Independent (April 12, 2010) – Hanging Lake to close for summer
The Aspen Times (August 28, 2006) – Hanging Lake a fragile paradise

More information about Hanging Lake Trail can be found at:
White River National Forest – Hanging Lake FDT 1850 (Hiking)
National Natural Landmarks – Hanging Lake

Hard_Winter_Icon_48Snowshoe_Winter_Icon_48

Hanging Lake Trail

Hanging Lake Trail in winter

Glenwood Canyon & Hanging Lake Trail MapHanging Lake Trail Map

Glenwood Springs, CO – Hard – 1.2 Miles – Snowshoe – Snow

Hanging Lake Trail #1850 is an extremely difficult winter trail you can snowshoe to see the frozen Hanging Lake (Bridal Veil Falls) and Spouting Rock. Hanging Lake is a National Natural Landmark, one of only 14 in the state of Colorado. This is a 1.2 mile particularly icy winter trail in the Glenwood Canyon near Glenwood Springs, CO.

To get to the trailhead from Glenwood Springs, travel east on I-70 towards Denver. In 9 miles, take Exit 125 to the Hanging Lake Rest Area (Exit 125 is only accessible from eastbound I-70). From the rest area, follow the Glenwood Canyon Trail 0.40 miles to the trailhead on the left.

A sign about changes at Hanging Lake provided by the Forest Service reads: (Click to expand)
Proposed Changes Coming To The Hanging Lake Area

Why take an action? Traffic, congestion, safety, resource degradation, parking issues, and the visitor experience are all being affected due to the increasing visitor numbers.

What is the proposal?

Set a daily user capacity of 615 hikers;
Issue and require a ticket/permit to manage the daily capacity;
Mandatory shuttle during peak season (May-October);
Manage site with an adaptive strategy under a management plan.

How: The proposed management plan and associated project document can be found at this link: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=50479

A sign by a donation box at the trailhead reads: (Click to expand)
“This beautiful 1.5 acre lake was formed by a geologic fault which caused the lakebed to drop away from the valley floor above. The lake edge is built from dissolved minerals deposited by the water. This fragile mineral layer is easily destroyed – please don’t walk on it.

The city of Glenwood Springs was granted the right to select lands for public park purposes designated in a Act on June 7, 1910. Hanging Lake was maintained as a City Park from 1924 to 1972, then it was deeded back to the Forest Service. During those years, the Hanging Lake Resort’s wranglers led horseback rides up the lake.

Both rare and common wildlife may be observed at Hanging Lake. Dippers are frequent visitors to the lake, and Black swifts make their home on the cliffs behind the waterfalls. Quietly enjoy the wide variety of plant and animal life as you share its environment.

The trail and boardwalk were built to protect the fragile wetlands and shore. Volunteer donations of time and money, especially by the Glenwood Springs Kiwanis Club and Boy Scouts, keep this area cared for and protected each year.

Your cash donation is greatly appreciated.”

A sign about the regulations at Hanging Lake provided by the Forest Service reads: (Click to expand)
Hanging Lake Trail Regulations

Pack out your trash: There are no trash cans at the Lake or along the trail; please pack out your trash back to the designated trash cans at the parking lot or take it home.

Stay on the trail: There are sensitive and rare plant communities that are present along the trail, lake, and Spouting Rock. Hikers must stay on the trail. Do not leave the trail tread, do not climb rocks, or get into the creek, etc.

Keep out of the water: Being in the lake, stream, waterfalls, or on the log is prohibited. The oils, sunscreen, and chemicals on our skin pollute the water. Fishing is also prohibited.

No pets allowed: Pets are prohibited on the trail due to extremely high visitor use and the sensitive nature of the travertine ecosystem around the lake.

Don’t feed animals: They bite, and it is unhealthy for them to eat human food.

Drones prohibited: The use of drones is prohibited on the trail, at the lake, and at Spouting Rock due to the disturbance they may cause for other visitors.

Violations are punishable via 36CFR261.50(a)&(b). Fines up to $5,000

A sign at Hanging Lake provided by the Forest Service reads: (Click to expand)
Hanging Lake – A Natural Wonder

Recognized as a National Natural Landmark, Hanging Lake is more than a lake. Perched on a cliffside, it is a unique ecosystem comprised of springs and unusual geologic features that support uncommon hanging gardens and special bird communities

Layers of travertine, formed over millennia from deposits of dissolved limestone, line the lake and shoreline and give the clear water its stunning aqua color.”


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Styliani GP
A highly rewarding hike. This is a moderate-difficulty trail with significant elevation gain as you approach the falls. It is a popular hike and it is only getting more crowded. A few months ago there was no available parking spot at the base by the Colorado river, and we had to park a couple of miles down the river and retract on foot to reach the trailhead. The views are breathtaking, and the place is worth every minute of it. Our concern is that more than half of the visitors (and they are a lot of visitors) choose to ignore… Read more »
Barry Stevenson

I often hear people who have not hiked to Hanging Lake say, “What’s the big deal?”. But after completing the hike they say, “Why didn’t I do this years ago?”. Parking is the biggest challenge since the hike draws big crowds during the summer and weekends. Get there early and bring your camera. NO DOGS ALLOWED.

francine

i am usually not a fan of hiking 🙂 this trail was tough, that’s true. luckily for novices like me, there are plenty of rocks and benches to rest on throughout the trail. and the hanging falls remind me of the beauty of new zealand, which made it all worth it 🙂

Linda Files

This trail is absolutely stunningly beautiful from start to finish, hiking through majestic forests within massive canyon walls with rushing streams of water along most of the trail. The lake at the trail’s end is clear, serene and lovely with the falls filling it–A great place to sit and relax on one of the many benches around the lake upon your arrival. The spouting rock — a short but somewhat steep climb up from the lake is well worth the extra effort to see this unique natural phenomenon. I highly recommend this gorgeous adventure!

wpDiscuz
Posted in 1 Mile, 1-3 Miles, Difficult, Dirt, Glenwood Springs, Hard, Hiking, Rocky, Snow, Snowshoeing, Trails, Winter Trail Tagged with: , , ,

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