Hanging Lake Hiking Permits

Hanging Lake Hiking Permits


SUMMER PERMITS (5/01-10/31) - $12.00

Hanging Lake Trail is currently open.

ACTIVITY DESCRIPTION: Hanging Lake is located pristinely in the middle of the Glenwood Canyon and is one of the most popular hiking destinations in Colorado.  Hikers describe it as “incredibly beautiful, absolutely gorgeous, well worth your time, outstanding, breathtaking,”...  and we agree!  Named a National Natural Landmark in 2011, Hanging Lake requires a hiking permit during all seasons. 



Re-direct to Visit Glenwood by clicking the BOOK NOW ON VISIT GLENWOOD button.


A helpful HLA Co-op guide is ready to help assist with a reservation by calling 970-945-6605


Visit the HLA Co-Op Basecamp at:

How To Manage An Existing Hanging Lake Permit

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


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 - 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.

    • 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
    • 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.



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 Hanging Lake 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 Hanging Lake Adventure 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 Hanging Lake 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 Hanging Lake 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.

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