Close your eyes and picture a sparkling turquoise lake, glistening in the late afternoon summertime sunlight. Imagine a gentle waterfall trickling into that lake, with tall trees growing around the perimeter. Picture this pretty little idyllic lake surrounded by a tall rock wall and a blue sky and wispy little clouds floating by overhead.
When you pictured this scene, did you imagine it was set in the middle of northern Colorado?
The 3rd stop on Amy & my Colorado weekend mini tour was to Hanging Lake in Glenwood Springs. I’d been drooling over this spot for months via Instagram photos and blog posts from miscellaneous adventurers on the Internet, and not one part of our Hanging Lake adventure disappointed.
Glenwood Springs is about 3 hours west of Denver, and Amy and I arrived in the early afternoon after a morning of mountain climbing (via car!). Pro tip: get to Hanging Lake early. It’s a super popular hiking spot, one of the most popular in the entire state of Colorado, and if you don’t get there early enough, you risk having to wait in line in your car to literally enter the parking lot. Amy and I knew this ahead of time but ignored the warnings, and YEP, we were one of the lucky ones to wait in a long line of cars waiting to enter the parking lot. We waited about 30 minutes, which really wasn’t so bad, and once we parked and got on our way, we kind of understood why the parking lot is so regulated/why it hasn’t been expanded to fit the popularity — even with the parking lot size regulation, the trail was pretty busy (it was a Saturday) and we spent a lot of the hike in pretty close proximity to other hikers. Not horrible, but any more people would’ve make it hard to enjoy the hike.
The trail was filled with babies, families, couples, old people, kids, teenagers and there were pretty little waterfalls running alongside the trail. The hike was moderately difficult, it was steep, it gave them buns of ours a pretty good workout… but it wasn’t very long at just about 1.2 miles each way. And by the time we reached the top, we were too awe-strucken to give our exhaustion much thought. There was natural beauty from all sides.
Hanging Lake was by far one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen since arriving in Colorado. Honestly, it might be the very mostttt beautiful, but saying that doesn’t seem fair to the rest of the beautiful places. What about the panoramic view of 13,000 foot mountains in RMNP? What about Colorado National Monument? What about pretty much anywhere in Aspen?
Is hiking to Hanging Lake on your Colorado bucket list?