Seeing the mountains and ground covered in white is breathtaking, but seeing the same views uncovered in all its natural beauty was just as stunning! I wish we caught peak season for the leaves changing, but the timing of our trip wouldn’t allow for it. I’ve seen pictures and I can’t imagine how gorgeous it is in person.
Hanging Lake Hike In Colorado
We have been to Colorado twice, and both times were for snowboarding, so it felt like a different world going and there not being snow everywhere.
Hanging Lake was one of the two hikes we took on our trip. We asked locals what we should do while there and they said this hike was one of the most highly recommended trips ad for good reason! Real quick on our timing, we caught the worst! The day we got there, they just enforced an end of season rule where many of the summer activities were closed during the week including the gondola rides-just FYI if you’re planning a trip around this time. They mentioned dates when it opens back up for fall, but I can’t remember the exact dates off the top of my head. I would definitely call around to ask about activity schedules if you’re wanting to do something specific so you can plan around their schedule.
Ok, now about Hanging Lake. I’m sure there are many different ways to do this whole day trip to the top, but I’m going to tell you how we got there and if you have any other ways/experiences, please share them in the comments below. During our trip we stayed in Vail, Colorado and rented a car from the airport so we drove down to Glenwood Springs which was a little over an hour drive. It flies by though because the views are so pretty all around, especially as you get closer to the destination.
We got to Glenwood Springs and we were told that there were bike shops everywhere, so we just happened to stop at the first one we saw right off the exit- see their site here. They were 5/5 stars and more in our book! They have a TON of different seasonal activities, not just bike rental so definitely check them out!
They were super helpful in making sure our bikes were our size, supplied us with helmets, looks, a little fanny pack that tied in front of our bike, and even a plastic jacket per request in case it rained. To get to Hanging Lake, you can take about a 10 mile bike ride there or they give you a ride with the shuttle. On the drive from Vail, we were all like we’re totally biking the 10 miles, etc etc but we got there late afternoon so we didn’t want to catch dark and voted on the shuttle. Up the mountain with the shuttle, we all laughed because we would’ve been crazy to bike that much!
Here’s a few pictures to give you a reading break before I carry on 🙂
So, he let us off at the stop and gave us some directions of where to go and how to get back. I’m bad at directions, but this was pretty simple and straightforward because the biking trail (it’s all paved) we were on led straight to the hiking trail and then to get back, we just continued down the trail for a good 2 hours. That probably sounds long/hard, but except for one hill at the very end, it is all pretty straight or downhill. It wasn’t a hard bike ride at all, just long, but didn’t feel like it because everything was SO beautiful. You’re literally riding parallel to the Colorado River and we were in awe the whole time.
So, after he let us off, we biked for a good 30-40 minutes before getting to the trail. The trail took about an hour to get to the top. It was the hardest hike I have ever been on, but worth every second! It is mainly uphill for about an hour. Literally uphill! Like climbing stairs made of rocks kind of uphill. There are fortunately benches if you need to stop, or of course rocks you can sit on, but we just kept making our way up without stopping more than a minute or two. I feel like slowing down was easier than picking back up and starting after taking a break. Side note, there were a TON of older people (mostly men) on the hike. I literally was like if they can do it, I totally can, but at the same time I didn’t know if I should be proud of them or embarrassed for myself because they just kept moving along with their little hiking sticks like it was a piece of cake and I was struggling for air haha!
Ok, so after you think you’re going to die of exhaustion a few times, you finally get to a set of extremely steep step rocks in a fenced in cliff, I guess we could call it, that opened up to a gorgeous view of the mountains (the pictures above). A few more steps and you go straight to the Hanging Lake waterfall:
As you’re headed straight, you will notice a sign in between the Hanging Lake trail straight ahead and a trail to the left that will take you to Spouting Rock (the waterfall in the picture below). It’s not even a 5 minute climb, so definitely go see both while you’re there. One tip, is go during the early daytime and when it’s not cloudy out. When the sun came out of the clouds and reflected on the water was when it was the bluest/prettiest.
I mean, pictures just don’t do it justice, but even looking through them age me all the feels. It’s definitely a good day trip and you’re probably going to feel like you got beat up at the end of the day if you’re not this active on the daily (I’m on that boat!) lol, but 100% recommend if if you’re looking for a good day activity. I’d totally do it again!
Hope you all enjoyed this post and found it helpful if you plan on visiting Hanging Lake. If you’ve ever been or know other great hikes around, let me know in the comments below! I’d love to add them to my list for next time. Also, let me know if you have any questions 🙂
I’ll be linking my outfit below. I’m linking a similar black tank top and will link similar shorts by the same brand, these are just last year’s style.
Thanks for stopping by!