Best time to visit Colorado

Hanging Lake Trail (Glenwood Springs) in Colorado

One of the most popular lakes in Colorado illustrates an interesting geological phenomenon

Best time: April–October

Hanging Lake Trail (Glenwood Springs)
Hanging Lake Trail (Glenwood Springs)

Hanging Lake is a National Natural Landmark, located in Glenwood Canyon, about 11 km (7 mi) east of Glenwood Springs, Colorado. It was formed as a result of a geologic fault that caused the lake bed to drop away from the valley above it. Water gets into Hanging Lake from Bridal Veil Falls. It's one of the most visited Colorado hiking destinations with about 100,000 tourists per year.

To get to Hanging Lake take a trail along the Glenwood Canyon (north side of I-70). The trail follows Dead Horse Creek and goes up for about 2.6 km (1.6 miles) from the trailhead to the lake.

The Hanging Lake's shoreline is composed of travertine, this is created when dissolved limestone is deposited on rocks and logs, creating travertine layers.

The best time to visit the lake is spring to late fall because hiking to the lake in icy winter conditions may be quite dangerous. Whereas the months from April to October are the most comfortable and safe to hike, these are also the most crowded. So if you prefer to avoid crowds, you may want to choose the offseason.

Practical info

When is the ideal time to explore Hanging Lake and why?

The optimal time to explore Hanging Lake lasts from April till October because the Hiking trail is much safer and more comfortable. In winter, however, the trail is slippery and dangerous. However, the high season usually brings more visitors, making it somewhat crowded, therefore it might not be a bad idea to choose the offseason for a more peaceful experience. Show more

What is the location of Hanging Lake and how can one get there?

Hanging Lake can be seen in Glenwood Canyon, approximately about 11 km (7 mi) to the east of Glenwood Springs, Colorado. The easiest approach is the Hanging Lake Trail, which is situated on the north side of I-70. The trail runs along Dead Horse Creek and is roughly 2.6 km (1.6 miles) from the beginning of the trail to the lake. Show more

Which geological event contributed to the creation of Hanging Lake?

Hanging Lake originated due to a geological fault that made the lake bed shift from the valley. Bridal Veil Falls is the water source that flows into the lake. The lake's shoreline comprises of travertine that get created when dissolved limestone creates sedimentary rock layers on rocks and tree trunks over time. Show more

What is the distance and difficulty level of the Hanging Lake Trail?

Hiking on the Hanging Lake Trail can take around 2 to 4 hours to cover due to the trail's steepness, approximately 2.6 km (1.6 miles) long, with 305 meters (1,000 feet) of elevation gain on the way. The duration may depend on the visitor's hiking level and the amount of time they spend relaxing at the lake. Lastly, it is crucial to wear proper hiking equipment before venturing on the trail. Show more

Is there anything else to observe or visit around Hanging Lake?

Along with Hanging Lake, a few other incredible natural attractions include Glenwood Canyon that offers breathtaking views of the Colorado River. Towards the west of Hanging Lake, visitors can witness the Hanging Lake Rest Area, featuring an astounding 300m high cliff. Glenwood Springs is an admired resort town and offers guests with hot springs, hotels, resorts, and other amenities, just a short drive away from Hanging Lake. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin