Hanging Lake in Glenwood Canyon

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!

The Hanging Lake Welcome Center is located at 110 Wulfsohn Road, Glenwood Springs CO 81601, next to the Glenwood Springs Rec Center. 

! PLEASE  NOTE!
*I70: ACCOUNT FOR AN EXTRA 20 MINUTES TRAVEL TIME to Glenwood Springs due to construction.

Off-Peak Season Permits are now available!
To visit From November 1st through April 30th, you may purchase a Day Pass and self-park at the trailhead.

PICK APPROPRIATE OPTION BELOW FOR A PERMIT TO HIKE HANGING LAKE

From May 1st through October 31st, personal vehicles are not allowed to park at the trailhead!
You can park personal vehicles and board the shuttle at the Hanging Lake Welcome Center, or make a reservation to bike or hike to the trailhead!

From November 1st through April 30th, you may purchase a day permit and self-park at the trailhead.

Nov - April: Day Pass

Park & Hike from the Trailhead

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

Reservation includes Day Permit
.

Contact Information

Hanging Lake Welcome Center
110 Wulfsohn Road, Glenwood Springs CO 81601
Next to the Glenwood Springs Rec Center.

Hanging Lake Call Center is open from 9 am to 3 pm daily, otherwise email questions to
[email protected]
We are committed to answer all questions & concerns! Please make sure to check out our FAQs before calling:
970-384-6309

Peak Season: May 1, 2019 - October 31, 2019

Visit Hanging Lake by shuttle, hiking or biking. During peak season, personal vehicles are not allowed to park at the trailhead.

Cost: $12 / Person

Off-Peak Season: November 1, 2019 - April 30, 2020 - Reservations now available!

From November 1st through April 30th, you may purchase a day permit and self-park at/or bike to the trailhead.

Cost: $10 / Person

Special Needs or Accessibility Accommodations

Call 970-384-6309 or email [email protected] to arrange for any special needs or accessibility accommodations.

Permit Cost

The peak season $ 12/ Person reservation fees pay for the reservation service, shuttle operations, visitor information, conservation and interpretation services during your visit. Both reservation options (Shuttle or Bike to trailhead) allow you to hike hanging lake, no additional permit is required!

Refund Policy

Reservations cannot be cancelled or rescheduled within 48 hours of your departure day.
To change or reschedule your reservation please call 970-384-6309!

  • There is no restroom at the lake. Use facilities at the trailhead before hiking.
  • Observe all rules and regulations.
  • 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!
  • 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. Reservations can also be made in-person at the Hanging Lake Welcome Center located at 110 Wulfsohn Road in Glenwood Springs, CO, next to the community center.

How much does it cost to visit Hanging Lake?

A reservation for the shuttle costs $12 per person. The experience includes: an online reservation system for convenient trip planning, reduced visitors on the trail for enhanced hiker experience, a dedicated welcome center for parking and shuttle pick-up in Glenwood Springs, on-site maintenance, ranger presence, visitor information services and interpretation on the trail and at the Hanging Lake Welcome Center.

Where do I park and get on the shuttle?

Shuttles will depart from the Hanging Lake Welcome Center located at 110 Wulfsohn Road in Glenwood Springs, CO,  next to the Glenwood Springs Community Center. Free parking is available at the Hanging Lake Welcome Center!

How long do I have to hike to Hanging Lake and catch the return shuttle?

Visiting Hanging Lake by shuttle allows for a three hour hike time there and back with additional time for photos and picnicking. All visitors have a guaranteed return shuttle after a three hour visit to Hanging Lake. Hikers that take shorter or longer than three hours will be on standby to get back on the next available shuttle.

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.

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?

Yes, 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 will provide onsite visitor services and compliance daily.

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 will patrol the trail and parking area to ensure visitors have obtained a reservation.

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 please call 970-384-6309!

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

Yes, bikers/hikers need a reservation and can bike to the trailhead and hike to the lake, year-round at any time.

Will I be able to access the Hanging Lake parking lot?

When the shuttle is in operation from May 1 through October 31, the parking lot will be closed except for Hanging Lake shuttles, emergency vehicles or other authorized vehicles. Take-outs of larger boats, SUPs, and rafts will not be possible during this time period.

During the off-peak season, the parking area is reserved for emergency vehicles, authorized vehicles and for visitors hiking to Hanging Lake.

It is recommended that those wishing to utilize the Glenwood Canyon bike path do so from another Glenwood Canyon access point such as Grizzly Creek, No Name or Bair Ranch.

Visitors who want to hike to Dead Horse, located along the Hanging Lake trail, will still need to purchase a reservation to do so.

Are dogs allowed at Hanging Lake and at the Hanging Lake Welcome Center?

No, dogs and/or other pets are not allowed on the Hanging Lake Trail or at the Hanging Lake Welcome Center. Please visit visitglenwood.com/dog-daycare/ for dog-boarding options.

Are there restroom facilities at the Hanging Lake Welcome Center or at Hanging Lake?

Yes, there are restroom facilities available at the Hanging Lake Welcome Center. Additional amenities at the Welcome Center include a water fountain, gift shop and visitor information services.

Restroom facilities are available at the Hanging Lake trailhead along with a water fountain and picnic tables. Restroom facilities and drinking water is 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. The area will be staffed in case of an emergency during the peak season.

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.

FAQs from and for people who bike to Hanging Lake

Do I have to book a time if I don’t take the shuttle?

Yes!

Times for the permits to make sure that the number of hikers on the trail is spread out throughout the day.  This insures that the trail isn’t overrun and all hikers have plenty of space to enjoy this spectacular scenery.  All bikers that access the trail should plan to be there within 45 minutes of their scheduled access permit time . Please download your personal permit email or present the permit you have been given by one of the commercial companies offering a shuttle into the canyon.

How long do I have at Hanging Lake?

As a biker, there isn’t a hard limit to the time you have at the lake.  Most hikers spend approximately 3 hours between the hike, visiting the lake, and the hike out.

Can I catch the shuttle back, bring bike on shuttle?

The Hanging Lake Express Shuttle cannot accommodate bicycles.  Any persons that access the trail with a bicycle permit will need to depart the trail access area by bike or by foot.  There is no access at hanging lake for any private vehicles to pick up bikes or individuals.

Am I paying for kids if they are in a bike trailer?

All persons that will be hiking the trail are required to pay for a permit.  If parents are carrying their children for  most of the duration of the hike they do not need to get a permit for babies and toddlers.

What if I miss my time, can I still go?

Talk to the staff at the trail head at that time.  They will make a determination depending on the trail capacity at that time.

Where do I start do I have to come to the Hanging Lake Welcome Center?

You can start anywhere other than the Hanging Lake parking lot / rest area.  The only vehicles allowed there are the shuttle and authorized official vehicles.  The nearest vehicle access points in the canyon is Bair Ranch (3 miles), Shoshone Power Station (2 miles),  Grizzly Creek 5 miles , No name (6 miles) or the town of Glenwood springs (9 miles).
Please keep in mind that Parking in Glenwood Canyon is extremely limited. Visitors are encouraged to park on either end of the Canyon.

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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