ice cleats, micro-spikes, mini crampons) as well as hiking poles. The hike to the top is not for the week or feeble. It wasn't overly snowy and the trail is beautiful. 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. We held on tight, and kept pulling ourselves up choosing our every step cautiously. General Trail Information: Hanging Lake in The Winter. 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!). I later learned that this stretch of I-70 had earned the Colorado Department of Transportation the 1993 Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award. We saw a tiny wooden cabin, and sat there to take a short break. While the Hanging Lake is an exquisite site in summer with its crystal clear water, winter brings forth an entirely different scene. The entire trip was three hours give or take. 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. It is wonderful... Review tags are currently only available for English language reviews. At the top the lake was breathtaking with it's clarity and the falls behind the lake even more spectacular. We couldn’t be too far from the end, Hanging Lake, the place we had heard so much about! 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. Lots of rocks but stable. Every bit worth it and look forward for a return trip. The trail to Hanging Lake is super well-maintained and marked, and lots of people use it every day. The beginning of the trail near the parking lot appeared innocent enough; it was a beautiful, snow-covered flat path that actually looked quite inviting. We had no water, hiking poles, or sturdy footwear. To get to Hanging Lake take a trail along the Glenwood Canyon (north side of I-70). And he was right. So worth it! A Hanging Lake permit and shuttle system is in place to protect the fragile ecosystem and provide visitors with high-quality experiences through education and interpretation at the Hanging Lake Welcome Center and along the trail. Considering it was winter and Hanging Lake trail was covered in ice and snow, we had more than a few challenges along the way! It is important that hikers are prepared for elevation, strenuous climbs, and rocky conditions. We could see the steep walls of Glenwood Canyon majestically rising high above us. Hanging Lake is one of the best hikes in Colorado. 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 thought of taking a dip in hot mineral water with our fatigued muscles sounded heavenly! I assumed this was going to be an easy hike since it was sort of “touristy”. But at 53 and the wife 50, and hitting the treadmill often for years, we had no problems other than to stop and catch our breath a time or two. In fact, the city leather boots we were wearing came with soles as perfectly smooth as soles get, without even one shred of tread! Hike Video: Hanging Lake in the Winter. We did have spikes for our hiking shoes, b/c it did get icy towards the end of the hike. There was absolutely no traction with our smooth-soled boots. In early 2020, I headed over to Hanging Lake to tackle the hike for a second time, this time in the winter. Wandering around the globe with my hubby and two kids is my passion and obsession. Cold temperatures also necessitate appropriate clothing, food, water, equipment, and winter survival gear. Hiking to the lake during winter months requires preparation. Please be prepared for winter trail conditions of snow and ice. Permits, which are mandatory, cost $10 until May, when summer rules go into effect. It's popular and easily assessible, but make no mistake - this is a "real" hike. We arrived in Glenwood Springs, and headed straight for the famous hot spring pools. Highest Point: 7,327 ft. Total Elevation Gain: 1,200 ft. 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. A bit treacherous and steep at times, but the view at the top is definitely worth it! The hike to Hanging Lake is beautiful. Fall was, by far, the more enjoyable because there were so few people hiking it. read more, The hike to Hanging Lake is beautiful. We discovered that Hanging Lake is a National Natural Landmark, with a very unique and fragile ecosystem. It is a lake in the middle of a mountain. 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. I knew, however, that hubby would not be agreeable to pulling over near the freeway, so I took my pictures through the car windshield. Hanging Lake; Photo Credit: Kady Kellogg. So, without thinking long and hard, we just started walking! We can probably say this will be the most wonderful lake you’ll see in Colorado during winter. Passing another footbridge on the way to Hanging Lake. We could see some water still dripping down the icicles, creating ripples in the perfectly smooth surface of the lake. The scenery is incredible during the winter - icicles, snow, the water is still running, peaceful and serene. The trail continued to climb up until it got even steeper. A hiker coming down the trail while we were heading up told us DEFINITELY do Spouting Rock! The water temperature here was about 90 degrees, which felt just perfect. There was just one small detail: the temperature outside was 17° F! Cautious optimism surrounds the future of Hanging Lake, one of Colorado's most beloved natural destinations, which at one point last summer was … Me posing with Glenwood Canyon before heading back down. There were more steep sections with rocks covered in ice and snow. Come along...It will be an adventure! Ice Tendrills forming from Spouting Rock at Hanging Lake. During the winter, the Hanging Lake Trail is icy, snow-packed, and slippery. Reservations: A permit is now required … Our bodies had collected so much heat from the pool that it actually felt really nice to get some fresh cool air. The historic Civilian Conservation Corps log shelter that is situated along the trail also still stood. and the bathrooms & vending machines are back at the parking lot. Someone else is also hiking!” or a bad one as in, “Woow! This is a great winter hike if you have the proper equipment. Hanging lake trail in Colorado is a spectacular hike in winter and summer. I would say starting from Bridge 5 we needed the spikes, which made the walking easy and enjoyable. After we drove for a little longer, it became clear we had missed our exit towards Hanging Lake. On the other side was Hanging Lake, literally hanging on the edge of the canyon. 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. Difficulty. We had jumped in the smaller and the hotter of the two. There were only a couple of other cars parked nearby. Since the two pools are right next to each other, we didn’t have to walk far. It was a little unnerving, but we were determined to find a way and get past that final obstacle. At the bottom of the trail, there are signs posted saying "this is a DIFFICULT hike" - and the signs don't lie! Coming down was going to be a problem! Therefore, it is important to get there early, especially on weekends. 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. The trail is beautiful and kept up and it takes only about an hour to get to the top. All we had to do was find a nice, clean patch and eat some. As it was, the steps were mostly covered in hard-packed snow, creating a steep incline, rather than actual steps. 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. There are two main hot pools at Glenwood Springs. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. We figured it was only about 30 feet to the edge of the pool, so it wouldn’t be that bad. At least, we thought we missed it! A winter hiker stops to admire Hanging Lake and Hanging Lake Falls at the top of the trail last February. I am Vessy, a classical pianist, former ICU nurse, and a travel writer, currently working on my travel counseling certificate. Its steep walls went so far down below us that we couldn’t really tell where they joined the ground. The walls of Glenwood Canyon seen from the trail. The trail follows Dead Horse Creek and goes up for about 2.6 km (1.6 miles) from the trailhead to the lake. I've done this hike multiple times during the summer, but my family and I did the hike on Xmas day! The difference was we were starting to get tired and thirsty. It is not hard to see why, as the lake is a beautiful turquoise with a moss-covered waterfall feeding it. As we kept on driving further west, the road became more narrow, and we found ourselves between the walls of a canyon. On the decent which truly test your knees, lots of folks headed up. This time the experience of stepping out in 17 degrees was very different. 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. Winter hiking is a vastly underrated activity, but this year it will be extra crucial as a means of escape. In winter, see Hanging Lake fully covered in snow, transformed into an exceptional landscape of dense icicles and frozen water. It can be a killer on the knees, though, so plan for that if you have knee problems. It's not a difficult hike, although it does get steep towards the top. 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. After slipping and falling numerous times, we decided it would be best to just sit and slide down the trail. A little icy in spots. Photo: Zach Dischner. In case you are not familiar, crampons are devices that attach to your shoes with metal spikes on the bottom. Visit… We thanked him and looked at each other. Gets crowded by 10AM and no parking by noon. Things to Do in South Padre Island, Texas. The Hanging Lake's shoreline is composed of travertine, this is created when dissolved limestone is deposited on rocks and logs, creating travertine layers. 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. I noticed there was another trail from the top of Hanging Lake leading to Spouting Rock Falls. Hanging Lake is one of the most popular short hikes in the Colorado Rockies. 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. We kept on going even though our boots were slipping and sliding quite a bit. It was a beautiful drive, with panoramas of frozen lakes and mountains covered in fresh snow. 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. It was like a small gem, like a perfectly shaped precious pearl. Final footbridge on the way back from Hanging Lake. The scenery is incredible during the winter - icicles, snow, the water is still running, peaceful and serene. At that point, we decided it was time to leave the bliss of the hot springs pools, and find a place to get dinner. Stunning winter scenery all around us devices that attach to your shoes evening of delicious food relaxing! 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