Hike Hanging Lake: Permits & Information

Get your permit to hike Hanging Lake by reserving a day pass below!

Please be prepared for winter trail conditions of snow and ice. Crampons and hiking poles are recommended!

Hanging Lake Day Pass

Park at Hanging Lake Rest Area (I70 Exit 125) & Hike from the Trailhead to Hanging Lake

Choose this option to visit from November 1st through April 30th

Reservation includes Day Permit

About Hanging Lake

Hanging Lake is a Colorado treasure and a rare example of a travertine geological formation located in the heart of Glenwood Canyon on the White River National Forest. The 1.2 mile (1.9 km) trail is steep and rigorous, but rewarding. This Natural National Landmark features awe-inspiring scenery and gentle waterfalls!

Off-Peak Season: November 1, 2019 - April 30, 2020

From November 1st through April 30th: Purchase a day permit and self-park at the Hanging Lake Rest Area (I70 Exit 125), hike to Hanging Lake from there.

Be prepared to present your permit to an authorized agent or Forest Service Officer upon request. 

Cost: $10 / Person

Peak Season: May 1, 2020 - October 31, 2020: CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE

From May 1st through October 31st: Personal vehicles are not allowed to park at the trailhead!
You may park at the Hanging Lake Welcome Center (110 Wulfsohn Road, Glenwood Springs, CO 81601CURRENTLY CLOSED)  and ride the Hanging Lake shuttle to the trailhead or bike/hike to the Hanging Lake trailhead.

Cost: $12 / Person

Reservations for the Peak Season 2020 will be available starting February 2020!

Please check back then to arrange your visit and answer questions during the peak-season of 2020.

Permit Cost

The Cost for the Day Permit during the Off-Peak Season is $10/Person.

The Cost for the Reservation during the Peak Season is $12/ Person.

Fees pay for the reservation service, shuttle operations during the peak season, visitor information, conservation and interpretation services during your visit. It also covers maintenance, staffing and communications.

Refund Policy

Reservations cannot be cancelled or rescheduled within 48 hours of your departure day.
To change or reschedule your reservation before 48 hours of your departure day please email [email protected] call 970-384-6309 and have your reservation number ready!

Contact Information

We are committed to answer all questions & concerns!
Please make sure to check out our FAQs before calling or emailing:
[email protected]

  • There is no restroom at the lake. Use facilities at the trailhead before hiking.
  • Observe all rules and regulations.
  • From October through April: Please be prepared for winter trail conditions of snow and ice.  Crampons and hiking poles are recommended!
  • Always wear sturdy footwear, not flip flops.
  • Bring plenty of water.
  • Be advised that there is no cell service available.
  • Near the top, the trail becomes steep and rocky and more difficult to maneuver.
  • Please stay on trail and do not cut switchbacks.
  • Standing on the log, swimming and fishing in the lake are prohibited!
  • Stay off the ice, it is extremely dangerous and prohibited to walk on the frozen lake.
  • In accordance with FAA safety and Forest Service guidelines, drones should not be flown in the Hanging Lake area.
  • Dogs and/or other pets are NOT allowed on the Hanging Lake trail or at the Hanging Lake Welcome Center.
  • Find pet boarding options HERE!

Watch this before you hike:

Frequently Asked Questions about Hanging Lake

Where do I go to make a reservation to visit Hanging Lake?

Reservations can be made online on this page visitglenwood.com/hanginglake.

How much does it cost to visit Hanging Lake?

The Cost for the Day Permit during the Off-Peak Season is $10/Person.

The Cost for the Reservation during the Peak Season is $12/ Person.

Fees pay for the reservation service, shuttle operations during the peak season, visitor information, conservation and interpretation services during your visit. It also covers maintenance, ranger presence, staffing and communications.

How long is the Hanging Lake trail?

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. It is important that hikers are prepared for elevation, strenuous climbs, and rocky conditions. Bring water, snacks, sunscreen and appropriate footwear and clothing.

From October through June: Please be prepared for winter trail conditions of snow and ice.  Hiking poles and crampons are recommended.

Is there group size limit for reservations?

Yes, there is a limit of twenty people per group reservation, larger groups must call 970-384-6309 to make additional arrangements.

Do I need a reservation year-round?


During off-peak season, Nov. 1-April 30, a reservation is required to visit Hanging Lake via independent vehicle, hiking or biking. Forest Service Rangers and/or staff patrol the trail and parking area to ensure visitors have obtained a day pass. Be prepared to present your permit to an authorized agent or Forest Service Officer upon request. 

During the peak season, May 1-Oct. 31, a reservation is required to visit Hanging Lake either via shuttle, hiking or biking. There is a daily limit of 615 visitors per day. The Forest Service and H2O Ventures provides onsite visitor services and compliance daily.

Can I cancel or reschedule my reservation?

Reservations cannot be cancelled or rescheduled within 48 hours of your departure day.
To change or reschedule your reservation before 48 hours of your departure day please email [email protected] or call 970-384-6309 and have your reservation number ready!

Do I need a reservation to bike to the trailhead to visit Hanging Lake?

Please keep in mind that Glenwood Canyon Bike Path is frequently closed during the winter months and in spring!

Bikers/hikers need a reservation year-round to bike to the trailhead and hike to the lake.

Are there restroom facilities at Hanging Lake?

Restroom facilities are available at the Hanging Lake trailhead along with a water fountain and picnic tables. Restroom facilities and drinking water are not available along the trail or at the lake; please pack water and snacks with you and remember to pack it out and Leave No Trace!

Are there special rates for children, seniors and military?

At this time there are not special rates for children, seniors and the military. Please call the Hanging Lake Welcome Center for special requests and Babies under two years of age.

Is there cell service at Hanging Lake?

There is no cell service at Hanging Lake. Make sure to print your day pass or screenshot/save on your mobile phone to present to authorized staff at the trailhead.

I don’t want to hike to Hanging Lake, but I do want to utilize the Glenwood Canyon bike path, do I need a reservation?

Noyou will not need a reservation if you are not hiking to Hanging Lake.

Will any of the revenue collected directly benefit Hanging Lake?

At a minimum, 5% of overall revenue goes back toward the partnership and long- term sustainability of operations and management of Hanging Lake and stewardship of this special place.

The partnership allows for the City and the Forest Service to cost share and to cooperatively develop, plan, and implement projects that are mutually beneficial to the Hanging Lake area and provide local residents, as well as the American public, with high quality recreation experiences and excellent customer service.

What is the ultimate goal of the Hanging Lake Management Plan and the reservation system?

The overall goal of this management Plan is to create and implement a management system for the Hanging Lake Area that is sustainable and achieves these goals:

  • Protect natural resources,
  • Manage congestion,
  • Enhance public safety,
  • Improve visitor experience,
  • Support local tourism.

Can I bring my emotional support animal (ESA) on the trail?

Although your animal may serve critical functions for you, ESAs, comfort animals, and therapy dogs are not service animals under Title II and Title III of the ADA. 

ESAs are not recognized by the Americans with Disabilities Act and therefore are not allowed in areas that do not allow dogs, including the Hanging Lake trail. There are multiple kennel services in Glenwood Springs that can care for your animal while you hike to Hanging Lake. In addition, there are miles of trails throughout the White River National Forest that do not have restrictions on pets that may be a better fit for your needs.

Special Needs or Accessibility Accommodations

During the peak-season: Call 970-384-6309 or email [email protected] to arrange for any special needs or accessibility accommodations.

Care for Hanging Lake

Hanging Lake was formed by a geological fault which caused the lake bed to drop away from the valley floor above. Over the years, water flowing over Bridal Veil Falls has deposited dissolved carbonates to build up the fragile lake edge. Because of its uniqueness, the area was designated a National Natural Landmark by the Secretary of the Interior in 2011.

Over the years the popularity of the area has increased leading to vegetation and trail damage and overcrowding. A management plan was put in place in 2018 to protect this natural wonder into the future. A percentage of the fees collected for reservations will be reinvested into the long-term stewardship and sustainability of Hanging Lake. The implementation of the permit system, environmental education and interpretation program will help visitors play an active role in protecting the ecological health of Hanging Lake, improve the visitor experience and support the local tourism economy.

Care for Colorado Principles

Know Before You Go

  • This land really is your land. Our state and federal agencies manage 42 percent of Colorado’s majestic landscape, and our cities and counties maintain even more. Learn about and respect the spaces we all own, share and sing about.
  • Stay back from the pack. Find your way to less-visited and off-peak destinations to minimize down time and maximize your connection with special places.
  • Bring along reusable water bottles or hot drink tumblers to limit waste and stay hydrated in our dry climate.

Stick To Trails

  • With 39,000 marked trails and 13,000 designated campsites, there’s no need to venture beyond. By sticking to these areas and camping at least 200 feet from lakes, rivers and streams, you’re helping natural areas stay natural.
  • Even though shortcuts can be tempting, please don’t take them. A few extra strides on the path will protect plants and the homes of the true locals.

Trash the Trash

  • Pack it in, pack it out. Or pick it up to leave a place better than you found it. Put litter, even crumbs, peels and cores in your nearest waste/recycling bin.
  • Wash yourself, your dog or whatever else needs cleaning at least 200 feet from waterways, and use biodegradable soap. A bubble bath is no treat for fish.

Leave It As You Find It

  • Leave plants, rocks and historical items as you find them so others experience the joy of discovery.
  • Any of our 750 different species of wildflowers will live forever in a photo. Snap away, but only with a camera.
  • Colorado is beautiful all on its own. Building structures or campsites on public land isn’t cool. Keep it pristine for everyone to enjoy.
  • Treat all living things with respect. Carving or hacking plants and trees may kill or disfigure them.

Be Careful With Fire

  • Colorado’s low humidity has perks, but can create dry, dangerous conditions. Keep campfires small and manageable to avoid sparking wildfires.
  • When putting out a fire, water it until you can handle the embers. Never let a fire burn unattended.
  • Use care when smoking in Colorado’s dry climate. Always put cigarettes out completely and don’t leave your butts behind.
  • Always check for local fire restrictions.

Keep Wildlife Wild

  • Colorado is home to tens of thousands of furry, scaly and feathered creatures. To keep them – and you – safe, don’t approach them.
  • It is not adorable to feed wild animals. You could alter natural behaviors, exposing them to predators or even euthanasia.
  • Keep your furry buddies leashed when enjoying dog-friendly trails, and pack out their waste. All the way to a trashcan.

Share Our Trails & Parks

  • Chances are you’re not out in nature to people watch, so try out the lesser-known paths and sites.
  • Silence your cell phone before stepping into nature and speak softly without using the speaker function.
  • Be considerate when passing others on the trails and yield to the uphill hiker and biker – they need the momentum.
  • Listen to nature. Keep your voice and music soft so all can enjoy the peace of Colorado.

U.S. Forest Service   Visit Glenwood

Hanging Lake Express is provided by H2O Ventures.

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