A Hike to Hanging Lake Waterfalls

Why you should hike to Hanging Lake! In the Glenwood Canyon, Colorado Waterfalls galore and lush scenery will be worth the 1000 foot climb.

A jewel of a lake lies right outside of Glenwood Springs, Colorado. It’s easy to miss while driving down I-70, east or west. Hanging Lake quite literally hangs from above. 1200 feet in elevation, to be exact. The waterfalls are worth every step.

When my husband, Danny, and I arrived at the parking lot, a park ranger stood in front of the Lot Closed sign. We knew better from years of parking to ski. Someone always leaves. Just as we made it to the front of the line, someone drove out. I have amazing parking karma.

Dogs were not allowed on the hike but a light, cool breeze funneled through the canyon. Danny cracked the windows for our Bichon, Roxy.

It was only a 1.4-mile hike so I expected to be back within forty-five minutes. No one told us the hike was straight up.

It took a while to walk through the lot and paved sidewalk along the river to the trailhead. A train rolled by on the opposite side. It looked like something out of a movie.

Hiking Hanging Lake, A biker on the Hanging Lake path

When we made it to the trailhead, we joined many young families walking up the steps. It started as a steady climb, but I figured it was right up ahead.

Trail to Hanging Lake

After winding along a small stream for what seemed like ever, I wondered if we’d ever get there.

Soon the sun poured through the canopy overhead. The temperature rose. I wondered how Roxy was doing and picked up the pace.

Old log cabin along trail to Hanging Lake, Colorado

After what seemed like two hours of hiking, a hiker strode down the path. “You’re almost there,” he said.

His words spurred us on. The path narrowed and clung to a headwall. We had to navigate around a tight corner and scramble up the last few steps.

We made it to a place I never dreamed existed. So lush and with water so teal, it was worth the 1200 feet in elevation and moderate hike. The waterfalls were breathtaking.

Hanging Lake waterfalls

Family at Hanging Lake

Waterfalls at Hanging Lake! The 1000 feet in elevation are worth every step.

Click on the Instagram video and turn on the sound. It’s so relaxing.


After taking several photos, we headed back down.

When I noticed hikers struggling, I’d tell them, “You’re almost there. Just a few more minutes!” Danny soon called me The Ambassador. It was a good feeling to bring smiles to their faces. Once I hit the twenty-minute mark going down, I stopped. It would take them twice as long.

Worried a ranger would smash a window for Roxy, I sprinted from the trailhead (which soon became a jog) back to the car.

I caught my breath while Roxy lounged in the back seat. Nothing to worry about. Even in the intense Colorado sun, it was still May and Danny had generously cracked the windows.

I’m so glad we hiked it!

Danny and Susie at Hanging Lake

Do you like to hike? What have been your favorites? Have you been to Hanging Lake?

Related posts:

Trail guide for Hanging Lake

Bike Hike to Bridal Veil Falls – Photo Essay with Altitude

Backpacking Challenge in the Rockies

Colorado Travel Tips from a Wild Rider

74 thoughts on “A Hike to Hanging Lake Waterfalls

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  1. I’ve learned to never trust anyone who says “you’re almost there.” Hiking with some friends to a hut in the White Mountains, we kept hiking up and then down and then up again. Gets a bit tiring after a few hills. We met a group of hikers coming down and one of the guys said, “You’re almost there.” Yeah. Two hours later. The killer was that his telling us we were almost there really fueled us for a bit and we were almost running on the trail but then we were so let down after we realized he was playing a joke on us.


    1. Oh, that’s cruel! We had that happen on a trail near Silverthorne. We kept asking hikers if we were getting close to the waterfall and they would answer it was right up ahead. Same thing. Two hours later!!
      Thanks for stopping by, Jennifer!


    1. Thanks, Arv! It was so worth it. We found another hike yesterday so close to our place in Breckenridge, I can’t believe we didn’t know about it! You never know what’s tucked away around the corner.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree, Susie! I keep finding new ones in our backyard. I did a ridge walk around ten days ago which I have been thinking for last few years. it was untouched by human footprint and amazing too!


  2. Wow, I would hike for that waterfall, the water was really teal, and I love how you’v captured the woman in red, and shiny long hair, playing with her kid. So pictuture-perfect. I’ve actually never considered myself a hiking person, but the times I’ve done it I actually really enjoyed it. I’m even considering buying hiking-shoes!


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