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Hiking & Walking: Colorado > White River National Forest > Eagle Ranger District

Quick Facts

Hanging Lake Trail

Average Time: 1 Hours
Beginning Elevation: 6,100 Feet (1901.5 Meters)
Difficulty: More Difficult
Elevation Gain, One-way: 1,100 Feet (342.9 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 7,100 Feet (2213.2 Meters)
Length, One-way: 1.2 Miles (2.0 Kilometers)
Recommended Season: Year-round
Trail Number: 1850
Usage: Very Heavy
USGS Maps: Shoshone




Satellite and Topo Map




General Description

Hanging Lake
Copyright: Christine M. Douglas - US Forest Service
Hanging Lake
This short, steep, scenic trail travels from the bottom of Glenwood Canyon up through Deadhorse Creek Canyon to Hanging Lake. NO DOGS are allowed on Hanging Lake Trail, NO FISHING and NO SWIMMING in Hanging Lake.

The trail begins in oak brush, PiƱon pine and juniper, then enters a Douglas fir forest with serviceberry and cottonwoods. The trail is well-maintained with many switchbacks to accommodate the rise in elevation. Cutting the switchbacks promotes severe trail 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. It is important not to walk off this boardwalk, because the fragile shoreline breaks easily; allowing more of the lake's water to flow away. There is a short offshoot from the trail, just before the boardwalk, which leads to Spouting Rock.

SPECIAL INTERESTS
GEOLOGY - The hike up through Deadhorse Creek Canyon is a passage through millions of years of geologic history. At the bottom there is Precambrian metamorphic greenstone, schist and feldspar. Then there are layers of sedimentary sandstones deposited during a period of ancient seas. The upper portion of the trail is dominated by gray and white limestones also laid down by early seas.

HANGING LAKE - This 1.5 acre 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 has built up from dissolved carbonates which are deposited on the shore as the water flows over. SWIMMING is PROHIBITED because body oils in the water stop this deposition. Trout are visible in the lake, but FISHING IS NOT PERMITTED.

SPOUTING ROCK - For centuries, water has dissolved a passage through the limestone to exit out of a sheer cliff wall as a spectacular waterfall.

Directions from Eagle: Travel 23 miles west of Eagle on I-70 to the Grizzly exit on Glenwood Canyon. Turn around, get back on the eastbound lane of I-70 and head back to the Hanging Lake exit (there is no westbound exit). There is a new large developed rest area with toilets, drinking water, information and parking. The trail itself begins 1/4 mile east of the rest area on the left just before a bridge. There are picnic tables at the rest area and at the trailhead. It is important to note that dogs are not allowed on this trail because of its high use. There are no facilities at the top of the trail and because of the strenuous nature of the trail, make sure you bring drinking water.

Directions from Beaver Creek: Travel 44 miles west on I-70 to the Grizzly exit in Glenwood Canyon. Turn around, get back on the eastbound lane of I-70 and head back to the Hanging Lake exit (there is no westbound exit). There is a new large developed rest area with toilets, drinking water, information and parking. The trail itself begins 1/4 mile east of the rest area on the left just before a bridge. There are picnic tables at the rest area and at the trailhead. It is important to note that dogs are not allowed on this trail because of its high use. There are no facilities at the top of the trail and because of the strenuous nature of the trail, make sure you bring drinking water.

Directions from Vail: Travel 52 miles west on I-70 to the Grizzly exit in Glenwood Canyon. Turn around, get back on the eastbound lane of I-70 and head back to the Hanging Lake exit (there is no westbound exit). There is a new large developed rest area with toilets, drinking water, information and parking. The trail itself begins 1/4 mile east of the rest area on the left just before a bridge. There are picnic tables at the rest area and at the trailhead. It is important to note that dogs are not allowed on this trail because of its high use. There are no facilities at the top of the trail and because of the strenuous nature of the trail, make sure you bring drinking water.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Accessible: Year-round (NOTE: Can be snowpacked and icey in Winter months. Always wear good hiking shoes or boots) .



Current Conditions & Trip Reports
Open, dry Updated: 2002-05-16 08:34:00.0

Ranger TipDue to the high use of this trail and fragile environment of the lake, DOGS ARE NOT ALLOWED ON THIS TRAIL.


Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: Bob Rankin (Carbondale, CO)
Time of Day: 9:00 AM
Length of Time: 2 hours
Difficulty: Moderate
Number of People Encountered: 25-50 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Short but steep along a nice creek with a spectacular reward seeing the lake. Very crowded because the trailhead is at a rest stop on Interstate 70. Lots of families with young children. Bless the forest service for providing a place like this that is both accessable and also a great outdoor experience. this heavily used trail is maintained by local volunteers. Don't miss the donation box at the trailhead to support their expenses.
Conditions: rocky and steep but short (1.2 miles)
Water Availability: No water on the trail. restrooms at the bottom of the trail.
Suggested Accessories: Many people like a walking stick on the steep portions and in the rocks.

Filed By: Linda (Clearwater, FL)
Time of Day: Started @ 11:30
Length of Time: About 2.5 hours round-trip
Difficulty: Moderate
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Certain parts of the trail turned out to be a bit more challenging than I thought. Being from Florida, I had to stop quite a few times to catch my breath. I loved it though. It was beautiful.
Recommended Clothing: I suggest layers. The further I went on the trail...the colder it got. I was glad to have a sweatshirt I could put on.

Filed By: Greg (St. Cloud, Fl.)
Difficulty: Moderate
Number of People Encountered: 50+ ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Five years ago when I lived in Colorado, I would go to Glenwood canyon to kayak and I would also run up the Hanging Lake trail. A few times I made 4 trips up and down. I would pass the same people twice going up and three times going down. Great for getting ready for ski season. Now I live at sea level in Florida, have gained 50lbs. and would probably require help down. Many fond memeries of hanging lake. Wish I were "home" again!

Filed By: Gwenn Rubin
Time of Day: 12PM
Length of Time: 3 hours round trip
Difficulty: Hard
Number of People Encountered: 25-50 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Toughest part was the end of the trail that leads up to the hanging lake. There were steep rocks and the railing was broken in one spot towards the top. I also had to stop along the way at the little rest areas (aprox every 1/4 miles) along the trail for a few minutes. This was tough for a first Colorado hike. The beautiful scenery was the biggest reward - it was amazing. Pack a lite lunch to eat at the lake where they have benches.
Conditions: Rocky, Steep, mostly shady. It was a hot day and we passed little pockets of cool air coming from the rocks.
Water Availability: 2 bottles of water each - no water sources along the way.
Recommended Clothing: Hiking boots, hiking shorts, hat - suggest all.
Suggested Accessories: A walking stick was helpful.

Filed By: Pamela Amshoff (Centennial, CO)
Time of Day: 1:00 pm
Length of Time: 3 hours round trip
Difficulty: Moderate
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Wear comfortable shoes
Conditions: I wanted to express my concern regarding Hanging Lake. I took my in laws for a hike up to hanging lake yesterday as a fathers day outing. I had been there once before last year. First of all, at the base where the sign clearly states, NO DOGS, people walked right by us with 2 dogs running loose on up the trail. Second of all, after reaching the lake, we found people swimming in the lake, jumping of the cliffs, standing on the Verstile? (The outer edge of the lake.) I was heart broken with tears in my eyes to see such disregard for our environment and sensitive ecological area. I was just hoping someone would appear giving all these people huge fines for their lack of respect. Maybe it would be a good idea to display larger signs stating no dogs, no swimming, no wading? Apparently people are not as bright as we would like them to be and its a great shame. Thanks for allowing me to express my concerns and I do hope this email falls in the appropriate hands. I wouldn't be surprised if someone closes this trail down for at least 10 years so the lake may recover from such harm. Or am I being over concerned?
Water Availability: Bring your own water
Suggested Accessories: Hiking stick

Time of Day: 1PM
Length of Time: 1.25 hr
Difficulty: Moderate
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Heavy snow pack in middle section of trail. Take extra care at the top where the handrails are located! Snow shoes (with spikes) came in handy on the way down!

View more Trip Reports.



Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Hiking & Walking Hanging Lake Trail
Yes
ICON Viewing Scenery Views of Glenwood Canyon and Hanging Lake
Yes



Related Activities
Glenwood Canyon - The Glenwood Canyon portion of I-70, with its numerous possible stopping points provides a beautiful scenic drive.

Glenwood Canyon General Forest Area - The Glenwood Canyon General Forest Area, east of Glenwood Springs, is dominated by the spectacular Glenwood Canyon and its numerous arms.

Glenwood Canyon Trail - This paved trail is a great way to enjoy spectacular Glenwood Canyon.



More Information

Visitor Information:

Vail Valley Partnership, 100 East Meadow Drive , Vail, CO, 81657, Phone: 800-525-3875, Fax: 970-476-6008, www.visitvailvalley.com

Links to other sites:
Forest Conservancy - Current Information from Local Volunteers: Closings and Conditions

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