Hiking Hanging Lake Trail in Glenwood Springs, Colorado

Hanging Lake Trail in Glenwood Springs

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A Hanging Lake Trail Hiking Guide Plus Things to Do in Glenwood Springs in One Day

Of all the things to do in Glenwood Springs, we were most looking forward to spending time at Hanging Lake. But, upon arriving in Glenwood Springs from Aspen we were shocked at the traffic heading towards the exit for Hanging Lake Trail.

Seeing many signs along the way with their bright flashing lights screaming “EXIT FOR HANGING LAKE CLOSED” and “NO PARKING AVAILABLE TURN AROUND” was definitely discouraging when we had planned to spend only a day in Glenwood Springs hiking.

You might be wondering why I’m telling you this. After all, you’re probably just wanting to hear all about the things to do in Glenwood Springs in a day. But hang with me. The reason I’m going into all this is to give you an alternative parking spot in case you are unable to park at the entrance of the park. 😉

Glenwood Springs hiking - Hanging Lake Trail
Although we didn’t plan to walk along the Colorado River through Grizzly Creek Path we enjoyed the views along the way!

We decided to try visiting anyways and just like we thought we would be, we were prompted to turn around. We typically try to visit such attractions in early mornings, late evenings, or off-season if possible. But, on this day, none of those options worked with our schedule so we were determined to find a way to make our plans work.

Glenwood Springs hiking - Hanging Lake Trail
Grizzly Creek Path

We headed back a few exits to a walking path we had seen called Grizzly Creek that followed along the Colorado River and ventured right up to the Hanging Lake trailhead, the popular Glenwood Springs hiking trail. 

  • FYI: Going this way does add 4 miles (one-way) to your trek to the top of Hanging Lake but if you want to see the beauty here and can’t park at the trailhead, it’ll be worth the extra miles!

READ MORE: 8 Epic Things to do in Estes Park

Glenwood Springs hiking - Hanging Lake Trail
The crossover to the Hanging Lake Trail from Grizzly Creek Path

After walking the extra 4 miles on Grizzly Creek Path to get to Hanging Lake Trailhead we were already pretty tired (we’ll blame the hiking we had done in days prior, the heat, and the altitude on this. ;))

But, the hike up to Hanging Lake isn’t too bad. However, it can be rocky and steep in many areas. We stopped along the way up a number of times to take in the scenery.

Glenwood Springs hiking - Hanging Lake Trail

By the time we reached the top of Hanging Lake Trail, we were pretty exhausted. But boy is the view INCREDIBLY worth it and you’ll soon see why this is one of the best things to do in Glenwood Springs. The vivid colors of Hanging Lake make this spot almost surreal.

Glenwood Springs hiking - Hanging Lake Trail
Just look at that water at Hanging Lake!

After admiring the beautiful Hanging Lake we made our way back down the trail. Remember to take your time on the steep steps on the descent! The loose rocks can cause you to slip and it can be hard on the knees too.

Glenwood Springs hiking - Hanging Lake Trail

Many people think that Hanging Lake looks similar to Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia. What do you think?

Travel Tips for Hanging Lake Trail

As of May 2019, Hanging Lake Trail is no longer a free hike. Advanced permits are required along with a $12/person fee. You can check-out the Government Guide to Hanging Lake Trail for more details.

  • Arrange your schedule so you are able to park at the Hanging Lake trailhead early in the morning (the lack of parking may be solved by the advanced permits).
  • Bring adequate water and snacks: It truly is nice to relax once you have hiked a long way. This day we only brought a small amount of water and some protein bars which we devoured on the trail. This left us starving during our walk back on Grizzly Creek path. Had we realized how much more walking we were going to be doing we would have brought something else to eat and more water to drink.
  • You can park at the Grizzly Creek path but be prepared to walk eight extra miles that day! The path itself isn’t challenging by any means but after hiking multiple days like us you may feel more exhausted.

Main Rules for Hanging Lake Trail

  • No dogs are allowed on the trail.
  • No drones are allowed in the park.
  • Stay on the designated trails (not manmade trails) and the boardwalk that goes around the lake. Under NO circumstances should anyone enter the water or step on the logs.

Other Things to Do in Glenwood Springs & Where to Eat in Glenwood Springs

Glenwood Canyon Brewery

Glenwood Canyon Brewery - Glenwood Springs hiking
Wings + nachos + cold beer = recipe for success after a long hike!

After hiking Hanging Lake Trail, you’ll probably be ready for a nice lunch so head to the quaint downtown area of Glenwood Springs (another one of the best things to do in Glenwood Springs) and gorge yourself at Glenwood Canyon Brewery.

Grab a few of their craft beers (some of the best we had in Colorado) and accompany the brews with some terrific food too! We recommend their nachos and wings.

Address: 402 7th St, Hotel Denver
Hours: 11:00am-11:00pm

Glenwood Springs Hot Spring Pool

Glenwood Springs hiking - Glenwood Hot Spring
Soaking in the hot springs were so nice for sore muscles!

After eating we decided to walk around downtown Glenwood Springs and then stop at the Glenwood Springs Hot Spring Pool. Which is also apparently the world’s largest hot spring. While we believe this is a “tourist trap” it was nice to soak our aching muscles in the 105°F water of this steamy hot spring.

READ MORE: 7 Beautiful Places to Visit On A Colorado Road Trip

Where to Stay in Glenwood Springs

Budget: Hanging Lake Inn
Hotel Denver
Rio Grande Bed & Breakfast
Hotel Glenwood Springs

While there are many other things to do in Glenwood Springs we only had a day here and we definitely took our time hiking Hanging Lake Trail. We can’t wait to go back and see what else we can find in Glenwood Springs.

Take a day trip to Glenwood Springs, Colorado and be mesmerized by the beauty here! www.pagesoftravel.org


  • Reply
    September 5, 2016 at 9:42 PM

    Wow! Your photos are simply stunning and definitely makes me want to explore Colorado!

    • Reply
      September 6, 2016 at 8:37 PM

      Thank you so much Marcie! We appreciate the compliments. You must explore Colorado at some point. It’s one of the most beautiful U.S. States (at least we think so)!

  • Reply
    September 5, 2016 at 9:45 PM

    So glad you didn’t get discouraged by the sign! Glenwood springs looks amazing!! You have some really beautiful photos, and I bet even better memories 🙂

    • Reply
      September 6, 2016 at 8:35 PM

      I know! We were glad we didn’t turn around either. Sometimes you just have to keep pushing forward and see what happens. Thank you for the compliments! We hope you continue to travel with us!

  • Reply
    Rachel G
    September 5, 2016 at 9:50 PM

    What an amazing place for a hike! Gorgeous! The nachos look pretty yummy, too! 🙂

    • Reply
      September 6, 2016 at 8:34 PM

      Thank you Rachel! It was one of the more memorable hikes during our time in Colorado for the natural beauty! 🙂

  • Reply
    Nigel Kane
    September 6, 2016 at 2:07 AM

    Enjoyed finding out more about Glenwood Springs. It was somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit but just never had time to fit it in to our schedule. Like you we always bring a picnic with us on our hikes and hope the bears don’t get it before we do!

    • Reply
      September 6, 2016 at 8:34 PM

      It was well worth the day trip! If anything visit Hanging Lake Trail. It can easily be done within a few hours and is breathtaking! 🙂

  • Reply
    September 6, 2016 at 7:56 AM

    Beautiful pictures, I love seeing posts about the US since I live there and it’s much easier to travel in the states! The food looks delicious too.

    • Reply
      September 11, 2016 at 5:51 PM


      Glad you enjoy them! Let us know if you are able to visit any of these places sometime. We’d love to hear your thoughts!

  • Reply
    October 26, 2016 at 5:20 AM

    I received a Leibster Award yesterday and today is my turn to return back. So here I nominate you for the award. See the details at

    • Reply
      October 26, 2016 at 9:13 PM

      Hi mohitarts! Thank you so much for the honor. However we have already been nominated by another blog! 🙂 Again, we appreciate that you thought of us.

  • Reply
    5 Days in Alaska - Happily Ever Adventures
    November 16, 2016 at 11:11 PM

    […] window to visit. There’s a 92-mile road that you can drive through and discover all kinds of awesome hiking trails and wildlife. Only the first 15 miles are open to public cars. After that, you’d need to walk, bike, or […]

  • Reply
    March 7, 2017 at 7:18 AM

    Colorado is such a wonderful state! I was driving through it when I was on my road trip in America, unfortunately it was at night and I couldn’t see much, plus we didnt make any stops. I hope I will get to go back there one day! I know Hot Spring Pool might be overrated but it seems like the best place to be after 15 min hike! Also the food looks fantastic! Its that nachos full covered in cheese on the right side? 😀 yum!

  • Reply
    March 9, 2017 at 7:10 PM

    Your photos make me want to visit and I would totally do the hot springs. Thanks for a wonderful write up. Another place to add to my ever growing list.

  • Reply
    July 6, 2017 at 6:07 PM

    Y’all are making me actually want to go hiking (a rare feat!) Hanging Lake looks absolutely incredible. Like something out of a Disney movie! I love that you included post-hike spots to eat too, always vital!

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