Hanging Lake – a destination, an incredible ecosystem, a National natural landmark, and the Jewel of Glenwood Canyon. This highly desired destination in Colorado that has been under scrutiny for too many visitors that have had an effect on the extremely fragile ecosystem, is open for the summer.
There are some new rules to be aware of. First off, to get to Hanging Lake you MUST make a reservation. They allow 600 people per day to go to Hanging Lake in 3-hour increments. If you would like less time or more time, you must request to be put on the waiting list for it. A reservation cost $12 but it includes the permit that you also must have to explore the hanging lake area.
One of our member ski areas is making it easier for you to enjoy the beauty of Hanging Lake with comfort shuttles, bike rentals and hiking permits all included! Sunlight Mountain Resort is closed for the summer but their office in downtown Glenwood Springs is open for the summer and that is the place you need to go to get everything you need to enjoy a day at Hanging Lake.
First, you still do need to make a reservation. Head to SunlightMtn.com to find more info on reservations. It’s very simple. One hiccup that you may encounter are issues with flooding. If the Glenwood Canyon bike trail is closed for flooding (either from snowmelt, or heavy rains), the shuttle service will not be operating. Plan ahead.
Once you have everything together – you’re ready to set out! First off, you’ll enjoy a great ride in a comfort shuttle to Glenwood Canyon. After that, you’ll unhitch your bikes that you rented and take a nice ride to Bair Ranch. It’s an easy 3-mile warmup ride that will bring you to the base area where you’ll begin to hike. Now, the hiking is where you may get a little winded. Though it’s completely worth it, the short 1-mile hike features steep terrain and rocky boulder canyons to traverse over. Once you make it to the top, you’ll be greeted by Hanging Lake's wispy waterfall tendrils, gumdrop-green waters, cliffside location, and lush surroundings. Soak it all up and get ready for your fun and easy ride back down to Glenwood. The easy, downhill 12-mile trek along the Colorado River will surely be a top moment for you. You’ll be surrounded by awesome cliffs and if you’re there during the spring runoff season, multiple snowmelt-fed waterfalls will peak out at the most opportune moments.
This is a great family-friendly activity and one that is easy on the wallet and completely worth a day or two (or 12) out of your summer agenda. REMEMBER: this is a fragile ecosystem. This is a ‘leave no trace’ area so please be sure to clean up after yourselves and quite literally leave no trace that you were ever there.