I knew, however, that hubby would not be agreeable to pulling over near the freeway, so I took my pictures through the car windshield. We felt enriched by the experience, but we knew one thing for sure: We are never taking Hanging Lake Trail again without being properly prepared! We opened the door, and ran! The Hanging Lake Trail leads to two Waterfalls, one that you can walk behind, and to crystal blue waters of Hanging Lake. This was either a good sign as in, “Yaay! While the Hanging Lake is an exquisite site in summer with its crystal clear water, winter brings forth an entirely different scene. Not only did it taste wonderful, but it also helped cool us off. I assumed this was going to be an easy hike since it was sort of “touristy”. Elevation Start: 6,095 ft. The highway there is so squeezed between the walls of the canyon that for a short while, I-70 West is partially elevated above I-70 East. It was like a small gem, like a perfectly shaped precious pearl. This time the experience of stepping out in 17 degrees was very different. As we kept on driving further west, the road became more narrow, and we found ourselves between the walls of a canyon. Hiking to the lake during winter months requires preparation. Please remember that, in all season, swimming in the lake and walking on the log is forbidden in an attempt to protect the lake’s fragile mineral layer that is easily disrupted. The trail is beautiful and kept up and it takes only about an hour to get to the top. As we continued to slowly make our way towards Hanging Lake, things on the trail didn’t change too much. When they noticed I was having a little trouble with my slippery boots, the lady stretched out one of her hiking poles, and offered me to hold on. Nice new railings near the top. Cautious optimism surrounds the future of Hanging Lake, one of Colorado's most beloved natural destinations, which at one point last summer was … After slipping and falling numerous times, we decided it would be best to just sit and slide down the trail. With no reservations, large crowds or worries about catching a shuttle back to your car, a winter hike at Hanging Lake is an opportunity to take it all in at a more leisurely pace. Wear good shoes and bring a small pack with the basic hiking equipment - snacks, water, sunscreen, raingear, etc.I've done the hike a couple of times, once in spring and once in the late fall. The use of winter traction devices is required (e.g. Difficulty. Every bit worth it and look forward for a return trip. In early 2020, I headed over to Hanging Lake to tackle the hike for a second time, this time in the winter. Many people fell. There's a 10 minute paved walk from the parking lot to the actual trail, which runs along the Colorado River (pretty!) As it was, the steps were mostly covered in hard-packed snow, creating a steep incline, rather than actual steps. Glenwood Springs, CO – Hard – 1.2 Miles – Snowshoe – Snow. The couple then helped hubby in a similar way, and he also joined me on top. This is a great winter hike if you have the proper equipment. It's not a difficult hike, although it does get steep towards the top. Considering it was winter and Hanging Lake trail was covered in ice and snow, we had more than a few challenges along the way! There was just one small detail: the temperature outside was 17° F! After a few cautious steps down the trail from where we had come earlier, we very quickly realized getting back to the car safely would not be easy. I would say starting from Bridge 5 we needed the spikes, which made the walking easy and enjoyable. It's popular and easily assessible, but make no mistake - this is a "real" hike. After we rested at a nearby log, we knew it was time to start our journey back down. Our bodies had collected so much heat from the pool that it actually felt really nice to get some fresh cool air. Both the Hanging Lake trail and Glenwood Springs were located along I-70 west, and not all that far from Frisco. Wandering around the globe with my hubby and two kids is my passion and obsession. The trail to Hanging Lake is super well-maintained and marked, and lots of people use it every day. We couldn’t be too far from the end, Hanging Lake, the place we had heard so much about! August 24, 2020 at 12:08 p.m. We changed back to our winter clothes quickly, and decided to check out an Italian restaurant nearby, called Italian Underground Restaurant, plain and simple. Cub Lake. Be aware that the hike up to the lake is very icy in winter, and you need to take the proper precautions. We kept on going even though our boots were slipping and sliding quite a bit. The Very Best Things to Do in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, A Guide for the Perfect Winter Day Trip to Glenwood Canyon, Colorado, Hanging Lake Trail: How NOT to Hike It During the Winter, Day 3: The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Glenwood Springs Hot Pools and Resort Information. A little icy in spots. We did have spikes for our hiking shoes, b/c it did get icy towards the end of the hike. It was a beautiful drive, with panoramas of frozen lakes and mountains covered in fresh snow. If you go in the winter make sure to bring crampons for your shoes. A hiker coming down the trail while we were heading up told us DEFINITELY do Spouting Rock! We had heard about it from a local in Glenwood Springs who said it was a MUST. Fresh new snow was sparkling on the nearby hills, reminding us to pack our skis and hit the slopes. It is not hard to see why, as the lake is a beautiful turquoise with a moss-covered waterfall feeding it. After we drove for a little longer, it became clear we had missed our exit towards Hanging Lake. Hanging Lake Trail [CLOSED] is a 3 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Glenwood Springs, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. Update: The canyon has recently had a major forest fire that started in August of 2020 in Grizzly Creek. The steam poured off the surface of the water, illuminated by the lights around the pool, and the hair at the top of my head crackled when I touched it, from having frozen so quickly. Hike Video: Hanging Lake in the Winter. Visitors should stay on the boardwalks and be very careful not to disturb this special environment in any way, because even tiny amounts of oils and skin cells can damage it. Operational Hours: Open year-round, with the exception of closures on annual trail work days. We ordered some wine, and enjoyed a wonderful evening of delicious food and relaxing conversation. No one knows exactly how we got through this rail section, but we did, and then we saw the final challenge. GARFIELD COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Hikers rejoice, Hanging Lake will reopen this year.The only question now is when. It is a lake in the middle of a mountain. First time up in winter after years of summer hikes. There are also plenty of people walking around the "Don't Touch the Water" signs to walk out onto the downed trees in the lake for pictures. Well, this winter walk in the park bliss didn’t last for long. I assumed this was going to be an easy hike since it was sort of “touristy”. It can be a killer on the knees, though, so plan for that if you have knee problems. Since the Hanging Lake Trail is a steep 1.2-mile backcountry hike, visiting during the wintertime months is only recommended for the more experienced hiker, as the trail follows a narrow canyon that can be packed with both snow and ice. The way is steep and rocky; allow 2 to 3 hours for the trip. When we finally got back to the car, the sun was getting pretty low in the sky, so we made a plan to go to the nearby town of Glenwood Springs and stay there for the night. We parked near the Glenwood Springs Lodge, which is adjacent to the hot springs pool. Are you prepared? After enjoying our breakfast at the most delicious Butterhorn Bakery & Cafe, hubby and I decided to take a day off from skiing, and go for a drive instead. Me posing with Glenwood Canyon before heading back down. I impatiently put on my swimsuit, and met hubby at the door near the pool. Feeling slightly self conscious and embarrassed by our unpreparedness, we stopped the hiker, and asked him how much longer we had to hike up until Hanging Lake. However, it is UNBELIEVABLY worth it when you get up to the top. Please be prepared for winter trail conditions of snow and ice. The entrance to the Underground Italian Restaurant. Even though people often call it the “small” pool, it is actually 100 feet long. I lead the way, and hubby reluctantly followed. After we soaked for a while longer, we decided to go for a swim in the larger pool. The paved path follows the Colorado River to the trailhead and offers picture-perfect red-rock canyon views. Hanging Lake, which is designated as a National Natural Landmark, is located about 1,000 feet up a side canyon of Glenwood Canyon. Hiking it in winter, though, will provide you with solitude and a great opportunity to see the falls frozen. It was 13 degrees and windy when we set out, but warm, sunny and perfect for our picnic at the lake. Only a couple other people are out here hiking”! After some time, we met a well-prepared hiker, equipped with crampons and hiking poles, who was practically jogging back down the trail. Hanging Lake White River National Forest Moderate (difficult in winter) 2.4-mile out-and-back This alpine-lake hike should make every Coloradan’s bucket list. In fact, the city leather boots we were wearing came with soles as perfectly smooth as soles get, without even one shred of tread! David Boyd, spokesman for the White River National Forest, said that “as soon as it’s safe to do so, we want it open again.” We decided however, not go any further, since it was getting late and we had a challenging descent ahead of us. There is already a huge amount of erosion due to people walking off-trail - cutting switchbacks and going around puddles. Hubby and I walked over to the nearby sign to read some info about the Hanging Lake trail. I noticed there was another trail from the top of Hanging Lake leading to Spouting Rock Falls. March 9, 2020 at 6:00 a.m. We sent a reporter and photographer to Hanging Lake in Glenwood Springs to capture what a quiet winter hike is like on … After purchasing our tickets and getting a couple of towels, we practically ran to the changing rooms. I couldn't believe there were children and dogs going up the trail with us! Distance. It you go in the spring/summer, especially on a weekend, it will be very crowded.There was a lot of work done recently on the trails and boardwalk around the lake. Bring water, snacks, sunscreen and … Coming down was going to be a problem! I figured if we just take it slowly, we’ll be all right. The scenery; Photo Credit: Kady Kellogg. Permits will be required year-round, visitors can reserve a permit at VisitGlenwood.com.During the peak season, from May 1st through October 31st, no parking is allowed in the Hanging Lake Rest Area off I-70. TAKE DRINKING WATER none is found along the trail, WEAR STURDY FOOTWEAR protect your feet and ankles, Sign at the beginning of Hanging Lake trail. Hubby relaxing at the Underground Italian Restaurant. Review hiking Hanging Lake in the Winter Months for more information. The stalactite-like icicles that form around the lake from the rocky overhead give it an ethereal look, providing the perfect scenery. Photo: Zach Dischner. Handrails at the end of Hanging Lake trail. I prefer hiking in lesser known areas, hitting a hike where there are gazillions of “groups” and dogs and people is not why we head out into the great wilderness. Since the two pools are right next to each other, we didn’t have to walk far. Admittedly, we had hoped we were closer than halfway, but regardless, there was no turning back now. It is important that hikers are prepared for elevation, strenuous climbs, and rocky conditions. Seriously. For more spectacular winter hikes such as this, be sure to see the Rifle Mountain Park Ice Caves. A crystal clear, blue-green pool at the top of a mountain, with several waterfalls going into it!! The hike to Hanging Lake is a moderate to difficult hike up into a narrow drainage for 1.2 miles with over 1,000 feet of elevation gain. I later learned that this stretch of I-70 had earned the Colorado Department of Transportation the 1993 Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award. You're not allowed to swim in the water (it's also very cold), but just looking at it refreshes you and you feel like you've stumbled upon paradise. Passing another footbridge on the way to Hanging Lake. When we got to the restaurant, we were lucky they had a table for us. 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 entire trip was three hours give or take. Fortunately, the next exit wasn’t too far, and we we quickly managed to get turned around and make our way to the parking lot near the Hanging Lake trailhead. We had heard of a beautiful place called Hanging Lake, which was very close to Glenwood Springs, a town famous for its hot springs pools. On this adventure we head out to the spectacular Colorado Rocky Mountains for a challenging winter hike up to Hanging Lake. Cold temperatures also necessitate appropriate clothing, food, water, equipment, and winter survival gear. Hanging Lake trail after the perfectly flat part was over. All I remember between that moment and the time I jumped in the pool was that my skin became numb instantaneously. The fact is, without the handrail, we never would have made it up this part. All we had to do was find a nice, clean patch and eat some. At the bottom of the trail, there are signs posted saying "this is a DIFFICULT hike" - and the signs don't lie! It wasn't overly snowy and the trail is beautiful. It was partially frozen and covered in snow, but where the water was peaking through, it looked pristine and pure. I am NOT a hiker. It took my hubby & I a bit over an hour to climb the thing - it's pretty much straight up, and the trail is rugged terrain (see photo!). NOPE - it is hard... It is a very busy trail, but that just goes to show how spectacular it really is. One exception to this rule is Hanging Lake … The scenery is incredible during the winter - icicles, snow, the water is still running, peaceful and serene. Note: Unless otherwise indicated, all pictures in this post were taken by me, Vessy, with my Nikon D3100 camera. As you can imagine, by this point we had warmed quite a bit from all the climbing efforts. It was a little unnerving, but we were determined to find a way and get past that final obstacle. Hubby feeling a little sweaty from all the hard work, Tiny log cabin along Hanging Lake trail, a good place to rest. We were already pretty beat up from the hike, so it didn’t sound very appealing to drive for several hours in the dark back to our place in Frisco. The scenery is incredible during the winter - icicles, snow, the water is still running, peaceful and serene. They allow you to easily walk on snow and ice, and at that moment, seemed like the perfect accessory for this particular trail. Change in Elevation. He responded in a friendly, nonjudgmental manner that we were about halfway there. We arrived in Glenwood Springs, and headed straight for the famous hot spring pools. Glenwood Springs Hot Pool…Here you can see the large pool Photo by Arina Habich. We recently hiked Arethusa Falls in New Hampshire and this one seemed a little tougher. At least, we thought we missed it! Ice Tendrills forming from Spouting Rock at Hanging Lake. Now, all we had to do was to walk outside, and jump in. Therefore, it is important to get there early, especially on weekends. I felt one really neat feature of the trail was all of the small bridges we had to cross over the creek. On the way there, hubby called and booked us a room at a nearby hotel, so we were all set for the night. You can do this - even if you're not really a hiker! But even a novice can make it given a little prep. The trail follows Dead Horse Creek and goes up for about 2.6 km (1.6 miles) from the trailhead to the lake. So, without thinking long and hard, we just started walking! ice cleats, micro-spikes, mini crampons) as well as hiking poles. Glenwood Springs Visitor Center. The hike to Hanging Lake is beautiful. If you do make it out to Hanging Lake in the winter season, don’t forget to bring along some form of traction for your footwear, which are a must on the icy rocks. Final footbridge on the way back from Hanging Lake. The difference was we were starting to get tired and thirsty. Hiking so completely unprepared was definitely a struggle, but the stunning winter scenery all around kept us going. Meanwhile, I kept toasty warm under the surface, and the air on my face no longer felt numbing, but rather cool and refreshing. During the winter, the Hanging Lake Trail is icy, snow-packed, and slippery. Length 3 miElevation gain 1135 ftRoute type Out & back in comparison to the hike up to Hanging Lake, and you see 2 MASSIVE waterfalls coming out of the mountain wall, and can go right up under them. We slid on our behinds pretty much the entire way down! It is wonderful! Do you have: Interestingly, all of these warnings did not seem to register in our minds. The walls of Glenwood Canyon seen from the trail. Just as I was trying to figure out where to hold on, and how to keep me and my trusty Nikon camera safe, I heard a friendly “Hello.” I looked up, and saw a man and a woman standing at the top of the steep stairs, waiting to come down. We saw a tiny wooden cabin, and sat there to take a short break. It is a lake in the middle of a mountain. We held on tight, and kept pulling ourselves up choosing our every step cautiously. I thought they looked particularly magical under the deep cover of fresh snow. Who knew!?! Great photo opportunity. I came to find out later that this stream is called Dead Horse Creek. I highly recommend it. And he was right. The thought of taking a dip in hot mineral water with our fatigued muscles sounded heavenly! It turns out that due to the split highway, Hanging Lake is only accessible from eastbound I-70. On one side was Glenwood Canyon in its entire glory. Please make sure to check out all FAQs before calling the Hanging Lake Call Center at 970-384-6309! We did see the following: The trail is 1.2 miles long and rises 1020 feet in elevation. “Hanging Lake miracle”: Further assessments reveal no damage to trail infrastructure, lake By John Stroud. Hanging Lake is a stunning hike that begins in Glenwood Canyon. Hanging lake trail in Colorado is a spectacular hike in winter and summer. Hike to Hanging Lake. Although there was a scary moment when hubby almost slid off the trail down a steep incline, luckily, we didn’t break any bones, and only got our butts a little bruised from sliding over the rocks along the way! Winter hiking is a vastly underrated activity, but this year it will be extra crucial as a means of escape. General Trail Information: Hanging Lake in The Winter. We can probably say this will be the most wonderful lake you’ll see in Colorado during winter. …And this is how our crazy Colorado adventure came to a perfectly good and relaxing ending. We had reached Glenwood Canyon, and at this point were driving on one of the most expensive sections of freeway per mile ever built in America! more, This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC, Recommended experiences in and around Glenwood Springs. As soon as I took a large bite of fresh clean snow, I felt rejuvenated. Crampons and hiking poles are recommended! There were only a couple of other cars parked nearby. However it's short, incredible and the scenery up top is rewarding. I've done this hike multiple times during the summer, but my family and I did the hike on Xmas day! Estimated Time to Complete: 2-3 Hours RT. The water temperature here was about 90 degrees, which felt just perfect. Hanging Lake in the Winter Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5 Stars) Distance: 3.1 Miles RT. Get shuttle and parking information, trail map, and what you need to know to hike this popular trail. In winter, see Hanging Lake fully covered in snow, transformed into an exceptional landscape of dense icicles and frozen water. From that point, there is an ADDITIONAL trail that goes up, called Spouting Rock. Bring water, snacks, sunscreen and … Pretty trail in the winter. There were more steep sections with rocks covered in ice and snow. The hike from trailhead to Hanging Lake is about 1.2 miles with an elevation gain of about 1,000 feet. read more. Lots of rocks but stable. Reservations: A permit is now required … Follow-up ground inspections along the Hanging Lake Trail on Aug. 16 and 21 revealed that there had been little damage to the trail infrastructure, including several wooden bridges and the boardwalk along the south end of the lake. While hiking this relatively flat trail along the Big Thompson River, look for beaver-cut aspen, frozen waterfalls on the cliffs, and the Arch Rocks. A comfort station with restrooms and water fountains is usually visitors’ first stop. Continue your visit to www.tripadvisor.com, Commonly searched for in Glenwood Springs. At that point, there was a long handrail attached to one side of the path. I was definitely panting, sweaty and had to stop & rest several times. We took a few steps, and saw another sign sticking out of the snow that stated: CAUTION: Trail is difficult! If you are a resident of another country or region, please select the appropriate version of Tripadvisor for your country or region in the drop-down menu. Hanging Lake is a beautiful place and a great hike any time of the year. Visit… You see, I can’t just enjoy beautiful scenery, I have to snap photos of it, too! The trail up is SUPER short (10 minutes?) Although we managed most of the Hanging Lake trail ok on the way up, coming down was a whole different story! We kept switching between the two pools for the next couple of hours until we started to get hungry. We walked around the lake on the designated boardwalk, and stopped at various signs along the way to read more about this special place. Ski Hard, Then Take a Road Trip It was a beautiful January morning in the Colorado Rockies, a few scattered clouds, patches of blue sky, and a little sunshine. I always shoot on Manual Mode, and the only edits I do at times are: cropping, increasing the saturation, and sharpening the images if needed. We thanked them, and took a few more steps when we started to notice the stunning panoramas all around us. To get to Hanging Lake take a trail along the Glenwood Canyon (north side of I-70). At least, we would not break something if we stayed close to the ground. It is important that hikers are prepared for elevation, strenuous climbs, and rocky conditions. It took us a while to get to the other side of this pool as it was truly enormous, at 405 feet long and 100 feet wide. I admit, I had a hard time sitting back and not asking hubby to pull over so I could take pictures. The hike to Hanging Lake is beautiful. and the bathrooms & vending machines are back at the parking lot. Hanging Lake is a great hike. We had jumped in the smaller and the hotter of the two. 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