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Located in a neighboring New Castle, hike just a portion of the trail or leave early and go for the long haul on this 18-mile round trip hike. Adventure into the Flat Tops Wilderness!

The first 1.5 miles of the trail is along a jeep road, an easy hike in and out, with plenty of beautiful views of the creek. At the bridge that crosses the creek the real trail begins, and so does the climbing. The trail extends 18 miles to the Flattops. Most visitors choose to not go the whole distance. Because there’s no obvious turn around point, it’s important for hikers to remember that they must retrace the same distance already walked, so plan accordingly.

Trail Details

• Uses: Hiking
• Length:18 miles out and back
• Ability Rating: Moderate to difficult
• Usage: Moderate to heavy
• Dogs permitted, with leash


The trail is a significant distance from town. To reach the trailhead, take 7th Street/Midland, which becomes the Buford Road (CR 245). About 1.2 miles from Castle Valley Boulevard’s intersection with the Buford Road, take the right branch of the Y onto East Elk Road (CR 241). Here the road becomes progressively more primitive, but keep going another 4.3 miles to reach the parking lot.


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Visit Glenwood Springs

Hanging Lake winter hiking reservations are  available through April 30, 2024. The US Forest Service has scheduled a rebuild of the Hanging Lake Trail that is set to begin this spring and last throughout the summer months. Reservations will be available at the discretion of the US Forest Service, continue to check this page for updates. Visit the Hanging Lake page HERE for more information and the booking portal.