Hanging Lake

George Wahl in front of Spouting Rock

Cindy Jones behind Hanging Lake Falls

We’ve driven past the highway exit for Hanging Lake for years on our way to Glenwood Springs and Palisade/Grand Junction.  I’ve been wanting to do the hike for years but we’ve always been in a hurry. This weekend however, we made time for it on our way home from the Lavender Festival in Palisade.

The sign says that the trail is just over a mile, but its the hardest one mile hike I’ve ever done; a steep rocky
trail with boulders to climb over and a 1000 ft vertical climb. The trail follows Dead Horse Creek which has quite a few nice water features. Its a very popular hike so the trail is crowed, as well as the parking lot. 
Once we made it to the lake though, I was stunned. It is perhaps the most amazing natural landscape I’ve ever seen. The shallow lake was a light turquoise with a broad dripping waterfall behind it. The color is said to be due to travertine (limestone) sediments which makes the shoreline very fragile. Because of this the lake is surrounded in a boardwalk with benches to keep hikers away from the water. You can follow the boardwalk to the end where it meets a trail that takes you to the edge of the waterfall. Its always thrilling to be to be on the backside of a waterfall.

We took the short and relatively easy trail from the lake up to Sprouting Rock, a second waterfall that just juts out of a rock and then feeds the waterfalls at Hanging Lake. The back side of this waterfall is also accessible. I’ve always wanted to shower in a waterfall, but didn’t think this was the place to do so.

Hanging Lake is an amazing place to see and if you are like me and have been driving past on I-70 through Glenwood Canyon without stopping you should find the time for the hike. I might have to name one of our Colorado Aromatics products after Hanging Lake.