One of the many interesting hikes available in Colorado is to Hanging Lake. This is a popular half day climb to a lake that “hangs” off the side of a mountain in the Glenwood Canyon on the Colorado River. The first step is getting to the parking lot. The only way into the base of the trail is an exit off the east bound lanes of I 70. If you are driving westbound, you must pass the entrance, exit at the Grizzly Creek rest stop & switch to the eastbound lanes.
As mentioned, this is a popular hike. If you arrive on a nice summer weekend, particularly later in the day, you will have to wait for a parking spot. If you are looking for solitude, this is not the hike for you – it is a busy trail.
A couple of notes – while the hike is only a little over a mile long, it gains around 1000′ along the way. The trail is described as moderate or difficult. It is well maintained & marked, however you will be climbing over rocks, high steps – you want to wear good hiking shoes or boots with good ankle support. While I’ve seen individuals wearing flip flops, they weren’t happy! Also, no dogs are allowed on the trail & no fishing at the lake.
What I love most about the hike is the huge number of cascades & small waterfalls along the trail. Pretty to look at, photograph, and a great excuse to stop for a break from the climb!
The final few yards to the lake are a series of natural steps carved into the face of the mountain. New handrails make it comfortable for those bothered by heights. At the lake there is a large platform that faces the lake and waterfalls. Be sure to take the additional path to Spouting Rock, behind the falls that drop into the lake. A great part of the hike is the return is all downhill! I have some additional photos on my website at Hanging Lake.