Change Your Perspective: Hike to Hanging Lake in Winter
Foot Traffic Only
Round trip distance: 1 mile
By Gillian Sheehan
It’s no secret that Hanging Lake, has become one of the most popular hiking trails in Colorado. Approximately seven miles east of Glenwood Springs, the 1.5-acre body of water attracted over 130,000 people in 2016 according to the White River National Forest Service. There is even a proposed plan among which a stipulation is to cap the number of visitors to 615 per day.
In an effort to skirt the crowds of which we had heard much talk, my husband and I set out to hike to Hanging Lake on a chilly Wednesday morning in early January 2018. To our pleasant surprise, we were fortunate to experience the beauty and the sounds of the trail on our own. In fact, we didn’t even meet another person until we returned to the parking lot later that morning.
From the trailhead, the path is rocky and steep as it winds up 1020 feet in elevation over 1.2 miles. It crosses seven wooden bridges and a mountain stream, ultimately leading to Hanging Lake and Spouting Rock Falls.
One of my favorite views was looking back toward the Glenwood Canyon as we neared the lake. The layered rock walls made for a gorgeous view.
Another favorite was without a doubt the lake itself. Icicles, turquoise water, and evergreens made for the perfect peaceful winterscape.
We finished our sightseeing around the lake by following the small trail up to Spouting Rock Falls, were we were rewarded with a view of the waterfall as well as a plethora of icicles ranging in size from tiny to enormous.
If you would like a completely different experience at Hanging Lake, don’t dismiss the beauty of an off-season excursion! If you do make it out to Hanging Lake in the winter season, don’t forget to bring along some form of traction for your footwear, which are a must on the icy rocks. Please remember that, in all season, swimming in the lake and walking on the log is forbidden in an attempt to protect the lake’s fragile mineral layer that is easily disrupted. Help preserve our natural wonders!
For more information on the Hanging Lake Trail and the proposed changes, please visit the following links:
For The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Hiking, please visit the following link: