Exploring Colorado :: Day 3 :: 'Difficult' Hiking to Hanging Lake, Glenwood Springs

in colorado •  4 months ago

We had sturdy shoes, but it was a hot day. One can never have enough water, and we definitely did not bring enough.

So after a couple days of slow walking in a party with older folks, we managed to find a thing to do that they couldn't legitimately join us in.

Hiking. On a trail marked as 'difficult'.

The wife and I spent our third day in Colorado hiking up to Hanging Lake in Glenwood Canyon. Hanging Lake is a waterfall-fed snow runoff pond high in the mountains. High, in the sense that the elevation at the end of the hike is just over 7,000' in elevation, and the hike itself is about a mile.

Doesn't seem so bad, but it takes well over an hour to hike that mile, and at elevation the difficulty level increases. I'm no professional hiker, and my wife is less professional than me.

The initial view from the...parking lot. I really hope a 'difficult' trail doesn't mean 'scaling sheer rock faces.'

The first couple steps on the trail are quite rocky, but the rocks are arranged so that you know where the path is and have solid footing in most cases.

Looking behind us after a couple minutes, there are more people coming. This trail was heavily trafficked, with lots of people going up and coming down.

The higher up we get, the better the views. This is from a clear perch about halfway up. Most of the trail is intermittently covered with trees.

The small waterfall that feeds Hanging Lake. We initially bypassed the lake turnoff on the trail to make our way higher to see the waterfall.

Behind the waterfall and out of the sun. I really wanted to drink some of these waters, but it was posted all over that this is protected wetlands and disturbing the water or lake or ecosystem will probably result in being tossed over a railing off the mountain.

Hanging Lake

Hanging Lake itself is a clear, natural pond, fed by the waterfall and runoffs from higher up. The water is clean and clear and absolutely pristine.

I have to think the waterfalls and water level would be much higher earlier in the summer or in spring, when runoff from the mountains are strong.

The clarity is almost alien. Little fish dart around the fallen logs and algae.

Proof of wife.

The log here is kind of iconic. They actually have a sign and a fence rail behind where I'm standing to 'not go onto the log.' So, I didn't, because that's the kind of law-abiding citizen I am.

Proof of self with wife. This is at the very top of the trail just before you reach Hanging Lake. This is the only part of the trail with any railings...and the rails here are for good reason.

The hardest part of hiking a trail like this? Going back down afterwards. A zipline would have made things very interesting ... and quick. But alas, we're forced to hop down the trail like little mountain goats. Our knees and ankles are already tired, and we're breathing heavily, but I think the wife and I made it.

Tune in next time for Day 4 of our Colorado adventure, where we find out if we actually did survive!



Images by @negativer. Last photo courtesy Rocky Mountain Hiking Trails.

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Fun series! I am still traveling, myself, but now that I am back in the land of wi-fi, I’m trying to catch up on what I missed. I will have to read the earlier installments.

That’s funny that you had to take a mountainous hike to get a break from the doddering old folks. I’m glad you didn’t get thrown over the railing for drinking from the waterfall!


Hopefully you can assemble your own travel post! What is steemit if not a venue for travel posts and 50 word short stories?


True! That is my plan. I’m back on terra firma after my fourth trip of the summer. Maybe now I can simmer down and write some posts!

Hanging Lake looks lovely. No swimming?


I'm pretty sure you'd be drawn and quartered if you dipped your toe in the water. It's a protected wetland, this particular area, so swimming is definitely...frowned upon. (but man, I wanted to)

Oh man... @ankapolo would love to explore this. The Hanging lake looks amazing. I wouldn't be against it of course, i've never been to colorado.


The hiking in Colorado is absurd. You could hike a trail every day for 20 years and not have touched a third of them. (Ok, I did not do the math on this, but it feels like the numbers are accurate)

Thanks for these, especially this one. Proof of Wife. I needed that little laugh.

Been having a hard time lately but hopefully I'm not down for the count. Keeping on keeping on is difficult sometimes. I hope everyone is doing well.


Thx Jon. I know you've had some real life struggles at your end, and the wife and I are thinking of you and hoping you find your level. Every day seems like we're just paper boats in a stream, and sometimes all we can do is hang on and make the best of what we have.

So interesting!

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