Driving Through Glenwood Canyon and Hiking to Hanging Lake

Glenwood Canyon is the type of place for which adjectives were invented.

Majestic.  Spectacular.  Awesome.

A picture of Glenwood Canyon could appear next to any of them in the dictionary. And since a picture is worth 1,000 words . . .

Glenwood Canyon, Colorado, travel
The drive through Glenwood Canyon in Colorado

Shame on me for not knowing more about this place before today.  While driving I-70 through Glenwood Canyon I mentioned to Kristi that surely this must be the most picturesque stretch of interstate highway anywhere in America.  A quick Google search informed me that I was not the first person to posses this thought.

While driving through the Canyon I found myself happy we were stuck in road construction.  The slower speeds allowing Kristi and I to soak in the shear, sunset colored walls rising from the Colorado River.  I have traveled to many high-end scenic locales – Grand Teton, Redwood Forest, French Rivera, Scottish Highlands – Glenwood Canyon belongs in the same class.

A trip to Glenwood Canyon should be a “must” on any Colorado travel itinerary placing you within 50 miles of it.  Within Glenwood Canyon can be found Hanging Lake, an aqua-marine, waterfall-fed, trout-filled pool that looks like it belongs in a remake of Alice in Wonderland.

Finding the trailhead for Hanging Lake is tricky and detailed instructions can be found by clicking this link.

Hanging Lake, Colorado trail head
Approaching the trail head for Hanging Lake

You will be rewarded.

The ascent from the trail head to Hanging Lake rises 1000 vertical feet over the distance of one mile.

You will be rewarded.

Hanging Lake, Colorado, hiking, travel, traveling without kids
One of the beautiful spots to stop and catch your breath and take a photo on the hike up to Hanging Lake

The trail to Hanging Lake is not only steep and long, it’s rocky and treacherously slick when wet, as it was on our visit.

Hanging Lake, Colorado, hiking
The final climb to Hanging Lake is a steep staircase, but it does have guardrails

You will be rewarded.

You will be rewarded with jaw-dropping panoramas of Glenwood Canyon.

Hanging Lake, Colorado, hiking, travel, traveling without kids
Breathtaking views of Glenwood Canyon from about halfway up the Hanging Lake trail

You will be rewarded with Hanging Lake, whose beauty almost defies description.

Hanging Lake, Colorado, hiking, travel, traveling without kids
Hanging Lake is truly magical
Hanging Lake, Colorado, hiking, travel, traveling without kids
Hanging Lake is magnificent and well worth the steep hike

After you’ve enjoyed Hanging Lake, walk a few steps backs down the path to the turnoff for Spouting Rock and go the “extra mile” (don’t worry, it’s not actually another mile – it’s a very short path). You will be rewarded with Spouting Rock, a 40-foot waterfall bursting out of a massive rock face feeding Hanging Lake.

Hanging Lake, Colorado, hiking, travel, traveling without kids
From behind the waterfall at Spouting Rock

You’ll have to go out of your way to get there.  Reaching the top won’t be easy.  And it’s worth every mile and step.


Get the Photo - Hanging Lake

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