HANGING LAKE
INFORMATION & PERMITS
HANGING LAKE ADVENTURE CO-OP
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HANGING LAKE HIKING PERMITS

RESERVATIONS & INFORMATION

PLEASE READ ALL INFORMATION BEFORE CLICKING THE "BOOK NOW ON VISIT GLENWOOD" BUTTON BELOW TO COMPLETE YOUR RESERVATION

SUMMER PRICING

$12.00 / PERSON

(05/01/24 -10/31/24)

WINTER PRICING

$10.00 / PERSON

(11/01/23 – 4/30/24)

TRAIL RATING

MODERATE

(Difficult for younger ages)

TRAIL DISTANCE

1.38 MILES / 2.22 KM

(2.76 miles / 4.44 km roundtrip)

TRAIL STATUS / CONDITIONS

(Updated status as of 4/03/2024)

The Hanging Lake Trail is currently OPEN for permit holders, as hiking reservations are required year round. The trail is melting, but remains icy or snow covered in many areas.  Shoe traction devices and poles are recommended during the spring months.

TRAIL ACCESS STATUS

(Updated status as of 4/03/2024)

The Hanging Lake Trail is currently accessible only by vehicle by accessing the Hanging Lake Rest Area via I-70 (east bound access only, Exit 125). The Glenwood Canyon Recreation Trail is currently closed.

HANGING LAKE HIKE DESCRIPTION

Hanging Lake and the Hanging Lake Trail are located near Glenwood Springs in the beautiful Glenwood Canyon. As one of the most popular hiking destinations in Colorado, hiking permits are required and can be reserved online by clicking the BOOK NOW button above. With a reservation, hikers can access the Hanging Lake Trailhead via personal vehicle within the prescheduled hiking permit timeframe. Additionally, when conditions allow, access is also available via the Glenwood Canyon Bike Trail or shuttle. Named a National Natural Landmark in 2011, Hanging Lake requires a hiking permit during all seasons.

PREPARE FOR THE HIKE

AT THE HANGING LAKE ADVENTURE CO-OP STORE

Energy Bars From Taos Bars

ENERGY BARS
Available for purchase

HIKING POLES Available for purchase or rent

SHOE TRACTION
Available for purchase or rent

RTIC WATER BOTTLE

WATER BOTTLE
Available for purchase

HANGING LAKE

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

As it's name suggests, Hanging Lake looks as if it’s almost hanging on the side of the mountain.  Centuries ago a geological fault caused the lake to drop and the minerals spilling over the edge began to build up a fragile travertine deposit around the pool.  Today, visitors from around the world make the hike to see this natural phenomenon and it is each visitors responsibility to ensure that you leave this delicate ecosystem pristine and unchanged.

To reach this special place, visitors must navigate a steep 1.38 mile trail up Dead Horse Creek Canyon. The trail takes visitors over footbridges, through light and dark contrasts, beside remnants of the 2020 Grizzly Creek forest fire, and over large rocks that at times serve as steps.

After gaining 1200 feet above the Colorado River, the Bridal Veil waterfalls spill into Hanging Lake. Icy water gushes out of the limestone cliff through a hole named Spouting Rock, with a hidden path winding underneath. Striking mountain beauty is blended with the residue of a fire that came close, but did not take, our beautiful turquoise lake. After the hike relax on the boardwalk to experience both the peace and the boldness of nature.

  • THE ECOLOGY IS EXTREMELY FRAGILE, SO THE FOLLOWING ARE NOT ALLOWED:
    • Dogs or other pets
    • Fishing, swimming or any bodily contact with the water, including standing on the log 
    • Drones
    • Harassing wildlife
    • Cutting switchbacks or walking off the trail
    • Littering…pack all items out with you
  • RECOMMENDATIONS FOR YOUR HIKE:
    • Be sure all hikers in your group are capable of doing a steep climb over rock steps.
    • Wear appropriate hiking footwear.  Light sandals won’t do.  
    • In winter months you might want traction such as cleats and hiking poles. It’s beautiful but slippery!
    • Bring water. Snacks are always great, too. Be sure to pack out your trash.
    • No restrooms at the lake, but excellent ones are provided at the trailhead, along with picnic tables and water.
    • Cell service is not available.

CLICK HERE FOR ALL NEW

HANGING LAKE PERMITS & RESERVATIONS

Hiking enthusiasts can secure reservations for exploring the Hanging Lake Trail until April 30th, 2024, utilizing the BOOK NOW button above. Commencing this spring and extending into the summer season, the US Forest Service has planned a reconstruction project for the Hanging Lake Trail. Availability of reservations will be subject to the discretion of the US Forest Service; therefore, it is advisable to regularly monitor this page for any updates. Prior to acquiring your permit, it is essential to thoroughly review all pertinent details regarding the Hanging Lake Trail.

(SEE BELOW FOR MORE TRAIL REDESIGN INFO)

HANGING LAKE TRAIL REDESIGN

PROJECT INFORMATION & MAP

The aim of this initiative is to revitalize, enrich, and reinstate both the trail and recreational amenities within the Hanging Lake Trail Recreation Area. Following post-fire debris flows during the summer of 2021, this trail and its associated infrastructure suffered adverse effects.  Thanks to the United States Forest Service for making the Hanging Lake Trail Redesign project a top priority.

United State Forest Service Logo

MAP OF PROJECT trail redesign & improvements CLICK HERE cdn_helper

ADVENTURE BEYOND THE TRAIL

POPULAR WINTER ADVENTURES NEAR HANGING LAKE

Glenwood Hot Springs Pool $37.99 Hanging Lake Hiking Permits $10.00 - $12.00 Ski Rental Packages $33.99 -$43.99 Winter Fat Tire E-Bike Rental $59.99 Sunlight Snowmobile Tours $175.00 - $275.00 Snowboard Rental Packages $33.99 - $43.99 Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park $50.00 - $65.00 cdn_helper cdn_helper cdn_helper cdn_helper cdn_helper cdn_helper cdn_helper

HOW TO MANAGE AN EXISTING

HANGING LAKE RESERVATION

PLEASE NOTE: Hanging Lake Adventure Co-op is happy to help with any new reservations. However, all existing reservation inquiries, changes, or cancellations need to be directed to H2O Ventures, as the official permit provider, at the links provided within your Hanging Lake Permit Confirmation Email or the information below:

  • CALL : 970-384-6309
  • EMAIL: info@hanginglakeexpress.com
This is a official logo for Hanging Lake used by the City of Glenwood Springs & the United States Forest Service.

Robin - 5 Star Google Review

"We spent a lot of time deciding between rafting companies in Glenwood, and we're so happy we ended up with Blue Sky. We're rafting novices, and this was a great starter trip with some impressive rapids at the beginning followed by a leisurely float down the canyon..."

Half Day Rafting Adventure Guest

VIEW RAFT TRIP ITINERARY
Brian - 5 Star Google Review

"Rafting wasn’t even on our list of things to do, but we are so glad we saw Blue Sky Rafting reviews and decided to do it! Their staff are all so great and easy to work with and it’s very reasonably priced for such a cool and memorable experience."

Raft & Kayak Adventure Guest

VIEW RAFT TRIP ITINERARY
Lisa - 5 Star Google Review

"My kids and I had an amazing experience with Blue Sky Rafting. We went white water rafting and Shelby was our guide and fellow adventurer. He was the best we could have gotten. He calmed my daughters fears with his really funny and hilarious jokes…. “scouts honor”! Hahaha"

Mild & Scenic Half Day Rafting Guest

VIEW RAFT TRIP ITINERARY
Kris - 5 Star Google Review

"What a great experience! The Shoshone rapids were perfect for my family. This time of the year the water level is perfect for little ones... Go earlier in the season for bigger rapids. CatJo did an amazing job guiding us safely down the river..."

Private Half Day Rafting Adventure Guest

VIEW RAFT TRIP ITINERARY
Molly - 5 Star Google Review

"We had the BEST time! Our guide Gabbie was so knowledgeable of the river, gave us interesting facts and fun ideas to do in town. I called ahead because I was worried about rain. They were so great and put us on an earlier trip. So accommodating! You will not be disappointed."

Half Day Rafting Adventure Guest

VIEW RAFT TRIP ITINERARY

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PACKAGES

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SAVINGS

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HELPFUL

TRAIL & PERMIT INFORMATION

We’ve been to Hanging Lake many times and each time we have experienced something new, unique, and beautiful.  We hiked it when we were kids, as young adults, and now as parents with kids of our own.  When the Glenwood Canyon Recreation / Bike Trail is open, our favorite way to access the Hanging Lake Trail is by riding E-Bikes, allowing us to stop and fully enjoy the incredible scenery of the Glenwood Canyon along the way.

MODERATE / DIFFICULT (The elderly and young children may find this trail very difficult)

1.38 miles / 2.22 km (2.76 miles / 4.44 km roundtrip)

1200 feet / 366 m

United States Forest Service / City of Glenwood Springs / H2O Ventures

Hanging Lake Rest Area accessed via I-70, Exit 125 EB, Glenwood Springs, CO 81601 or accessible  via the Glenwood Canyon Recreation / Bike Trail when the trail is open.

HANGING LAKE

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

The hike from the parking lot to Hanging Lake is 1.38 miles / 2.22 km and gains over 1200 ft. / 366 m in elevation.  In total, this out and back hike is 2.76 miles / 4.44 km in length.  It is important to be well prepared, as the trail is rated at a Moderate / Difficult level.

There are restrooms with a water fountain and picnic tables located at the HL trailhead. However, there are no restroom facilities or drinking water available along the trail or at the lake. It is important to remember to bring enough water and snacks for the hike, and to pack out all waste and follow Leave No Trace principles.

Yes, this is a great option during the summer months.  As with all visitors to Hanging Lake, this option does require a permit.  It is strongly encourages to first check in with the HLA Co-op to get the latest update on the status of the Glenwood Canyon Recreation / Bike Path.  At times, weather conditions and trail maintenance can cause closures that make this option non-viable.  It is important to have an alternative, and non-commercial (private vehicles are only permitted to enter the HL Rest Area), driving option if your reservation coincides with a trail closure.

A reservation is not necessary to utilize the Glenwood Canyon bike path. However, please note that access to the Hanging Lake Rest Area is specifically for Hanging Lake permit holder parking.  All other rest areas including No Name, Grizzly Creek, Shoshone and Bair Ranch are accessible for all users.

No, dogs (or any other pet) are not allowed on the Hanging Lake Trail or Hanging Lake Rest Area.  Additionally, animals are NOT allowed to be left in vehicles while hiking.  Please click here to view Dog-Boarding options.

Although your emotional support animal (ESA) may provide important support for you, they are not considered service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and are therefore not permitted in areas that do not allow dogs, such as the HL trail. If you plan on hiking to Hanging Lake, you will need to make arrangements for the care of your ESA. There are several kennel services in Glenwood Springs that can take care of your animal while you are on the trail. There are also many other trails in the White River National Forest that do not have restrictions on pets that may be a better fit for your needs.

Although Hanging Lake itself was spared from the Grizzly Creek Fire, the surrounding area and trail suffered significant damage. The fire also caused extensive destruction in Glenwood Canyon, and ensuring public safety remains a top priority. There is a risk of flooding and debris flow in the post-fire period, and the White River National Forest is collaborating with the Colorado Department of Transportation and other stakeholders to develop short and long-term mitigation strategies. Hikers who hold trail permits will receive detailed emergency information when applicable.

There is no cellular coverage at Hanging Lake. During peak season, the area is staffed in case of emergencies.

Currently, there are no reduced rates available for children ages 3 and up, seniors, or military personnel. However, you can call to inquire about rates for children under two years of age. For group or special interest requests, you can also call for more information.

Proceeds from the revenue collected are used to support the partnership and long-term sustainability of Hanging Lake, including the operations and management of the site as well as its stewardship as a National Natural Landmark. The partnership between the City of Glenwood Springs and the Forest Service allows for cost sharing and collaboration on projects that benefit the Hanging Lake area and provide high quality recreational experiences and customer service to local residents and visitors.

The main objectives of the Hanging Lake management plan and reservation system are to protect natural resources, manage congestion, enhance public safety, improve the visitor experience, and support local tourism. These efforts aim to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Hanging Lake area and provide a high-quality recreational experience for all visitors.

Most Popular Winter Package – Ski, Swim & Stay Glenwood Springs – 1 Hour from 6 EPIC & IKON Pass Resorts Hanging Lake Permits & Information Ski & Snowboard Rental FAQ’s and Helpful Information cdn_helper cdn_helper cdn_helper cdn_helper
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