Hanging Lake Trail #1850


Hanging Lake by Joshua Hicks Wikipedia, Creative Commons


Hanging Lake Trail will be closed September 17-22 and again from October 15 - 17, 2018 for scheduled dam and trail maintenance work. Detailed information about the Shoshone Dam work and a map of the closed portions of the Glenwood Canyon Recreation Trail can be found on the Xcel Energy website.


This steep, 1.2 mile scenic trail experiences 100,000 visitors a year! The 1000 foot climb up this trail travels from the bottom of Glenwood Canyon up through Deadhorse Creek Canyon to Hanging Lake. Although only a mile in length, the trail is steep and very rocky. Hikers should wear sturdy shoes with good tread. Be aware that there is little to no mobile phone coverage. Bring water as there is no potable water available. 

This short, steep, scenic trail travels from the bottom of Glenwood Canyon up through Deadhorse Creek Canyon to Hanging Lake. Switchbacks accommodate the rise in elevation, shortcutting them promotes erosion. There are several rest stops along the way. Some parts of the trail are rocky, especially in the beginning and at the end where the trail has steep stairs carved into the canyon cliff rock. The trail ends on a boardwalk around the lake, please do not step off the boardwalk. There is a short offshoot from the trail before the boardwalk that leads to Spouting Rock, where for centuries water has dissolved a passage through the limestone to exit out of a sheer cliff wall as a spectacular waterfall.

Hanging 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. 

The travertine lake is extremely sensitive, so special regulations apply for good reason, please observe all posted rules and regulations.

​View Hanging Lake Trail #1850 Recreation Quicksheet (PDF). This printable guide includes directions, vicinity map, description and other information. 

*Additional information: www.visitglenwood.com/hanging-lake and COTRIP.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Hiking Hanging Lake in the Winter Months: Hiking to Hanging Lake is a unique experience no matter the season. But hiking to the lake during the winter requires preparation. Review hiking Hanging Lake in the Winter Months for more information.
Operational Hours: This trail is open for hiking year-round, 24 hours per day, with the exception of closures on annual trail work days. The access parking area is a Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) rest area, and they may periodically close it for maintenance. Always check CDOT's website at www.cotrip.org for current information.
Open Season: Year-round - weather dependent.
Usage: Heavy
Restrictions: In order to protect this special place:
  • No dogs.
  • No fishing.
  • No swimming or bodily contact with water at Hanging Lake.
  • No parking along entrance or exit ramps of I-70.
  • Drones are PROHIBITED.
Closest Towns: Glenwood Springs, CO
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: Eagle-Holy Cross Ranger District (970) 827-5715    

General Information


From Eagle, CO travel 22 miles west on I-70 to the Grizzly Creek exit in Glenwood Canyon. After exiting, get back on the highway going eastbound to the Hanging Lake exit. The trail begins 1/4 mile east of the rest area on the left just before the bridge.

General Notes:

Hiking Hanging Lake in the Winter Months: Hiking to Hanging Lake is a unique experience no matter the season. But hiking to the lake during the winter requires preparation.  Please read this handout about hiking Hanging Lake in the Winter Months for more information.


When the parking lot is full, the rest area ramp will be closed. Parking on the entrance or exit ramps of I-70 is prohibited. Please obey all signs and closures; illegally parked vehicles may be ticketed and/or towed.

The canyon is so narrow there is only room for one direction on ramp/off ramp:

  • If you are west bound on I-70 (coming from Eagle, Vail, Silverthorne or Denver) and desiring access to Hanging Lake you must go to Exit 116 (the main GWS exit) and return east to Hanging Lake (exit 125), an additional eight miles each direction.
  • If you are at Hanging Lake and desire to go east to Eagle, Vail, Silverthorne, Denver and other points east, you must first head west to the Glenwood Springs exit(s) and return east on I-70, an additional eight miles each direction.
  • If you are in Glenwood Springs and desire to go rafting from the Grizzly Creek Rest Area or hike the Grizzly Creek Trail, you must go to the Hanging Lake Rest Area (exit 125) and return back westbound on I-70 to Grizzly Creek.
  • If you are at Grizzly Creek and desire to go east, you must go west to the Glenwood Springs exit(s) and return east.




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Day Hiking

Areas & Activities


  Area/Length : 
1.2 miles

  Latitude : 

  Longitude : 

  Elevation : 
6387' - 7323'