The Best, Short, Day Hike in Colorado?

This could be it: Hanging Lake, just a few minutes drive east of Glenwood Springs.

You have easy, quick access off of I-70, and about three miles of hiking (total, round trip).

You DO need to be in something better than Standard American Couch Potato Condition, however, as you climb over 1,000 vertical feet in just over a mile. Then you come back down. If you just came from sea level, you might even find the walk challenging, asphyxiating even. Plan on 2-3 hours for the adventure.

Wear supportive footwear as the trail is rough and rocky in places.

Also, be aware that you’ll have to backtrack a bit on the Interstate before you can motor east toward Denver again, if that is your intended direction of travel.

I chose a beautiful autumn day to finally stop and check out Hanging Lake. I can’t believe a have never stopped before…

 

A small shelter you’ll find along the trail (off limits, however). The autumn changing of the leaves was in full swing and turned the walk into an idyllic odyssey:

Hanging Lake Trail, #1. Near Glenwood Springs, Colorado, 2017
Hanging Lake Trail, #1. Colorado, 2017

 

You follow beautiful Dead Horse Creek (what a contradictory name, eh!?) as you climb. This is a hand-held image with the Sony RX100iv…that’s right, no tripod was harmed in its making. The key is to snap maybe ten photos at various slow shutter speeds–brace on something if you can (or against the stretched out camera strap on your neck as I did), hold your breath, and gently squeeze the trigger. With luck, at least one will come out sharp and not blurred from camera movement. This one was taken at 1/5 of a second:

Hanging Lake Trail, #2. Hanging Lake, Colorado, 2017
Hanging Lake Trail, #2. Hanging Lake, Colorado, 2017

 

A lone cloud hangs over the narrow slot canyon:

Hanging Lake Trail, #3. Colorado, 2017
Hanging Lake Trail, #3. Colorado, 2017

 

The actual Hanging Lake is really more of a pond–but a very attractive one with ribbons of water pouring in from all sides. In the early spring this must be roaringly spectacular. In winter, it must be a quiet paradise of vertical snow and ice. Another hand-held image, this one at 1/8 of a second:

Hanging Lake Trail, #4. Colorado, 2017
Hanging Lake Trail, #4. Colorado, 2017

 

Ah, the warmth of autumn colors–but the air was dry and crisp:

Hanging Lake Trail, #8. Colorado, 2017
Hanging Lake Trail, #8. Colorado, 2017

 

Another, wider, view of Hanging Lake. I spotted trout in the pond–how did they get there?

Hanging Lake Trail, #9. Colorado, 2017
Hanging Lake Trail, #9. Colorado, 2017

 

Just because you might be a bit tired and shagged out from your prolonged walk, don’t blow off the short (five minutes, I promise!) trail to Spouting Rock, just above Hanging Lake. The water pours out of a hole in the cliff above and is almost more interesting than the Lake itself:

Hanging Lake Trail, #6. Colorado, 2017
Hanging Lake Trail, #6. Colorado, 2017

 

On the way back down–they made me pose:

Hanging Lake Trail, #10. Colorado, 2017
Hanging Lake Trail, #10. Colorado, 2017

 

Dead Horse Creek detail:

Hanging Lake Trail, #11. Colorado, 2017
Hanging Lake Trail, #11. Colorado, 2017

 

A view of the main Glenwood Canyon, the Colorado River, and the railroad tracks:

Hanging Lake Trail, #12. Colorado, 2017
Hanging Lake Trail, #12. Colorado, 2017

 

Glenwood Canyon in autumn:

Hanging Lake Trail, #13. Colorado, 2017
Hanging Lake Trail, #13. Colorado, 2017

2 Responses

    1. Thanks, Gale! This wouldn’t be the Gale and Bruce team from Tucson and Buenos Aires, would it??? Greetings from Barcelona!

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