Hike Hanging Lake

A Perfect Day Trip: Hiking Hanging Lake Trail and Relaxing at Iron Mountain Hot Springs

Hike Hanging Lake

Hanging Lake Trail is open for reservations starting June 25, 2022. 

Spring 2024 Hanging Lake Trail Construction Update:

The US Forest Service will rebuild the Hanging Lake Trail this spring. Limited hiking will be allowed through reservations released weekly on Tuesdays at 8:00 am MDT. This aims to streamline access during construction for a better visitor experience.

See VisitGlenwood’s website for more information.


Hiking and soaking are a perfect vacation combination. Giving muscles a good workout followed by a soothing soak is a time-honored way to spend downtime in the Colorado mountains. Nearby Hanging Lake is considered the gem of Glenwood Canyon and a top Colorado visitor destination. Soaking at Iron Mountain Hot Springs is the easy part. Hiking this popular trail takes a little more planning; here’s all you need to know:

Purchase a Permit to Hike Hanging Lake

In order to preserve the pristine natural environment, create a pleasant hiking experience for all and prevent overuse, permits are required to hike to Hanging Lake. Permits for the hike are currently available starting June 25 through October 31, 2022. Visit the Visit Glenwood Permits & Information page to book your permit or call 970-384-6309. A portion of the $12 per person fee goes to trail maintenance and education.

Hike to Hanging Lake

Hanging Lake is a stunning hike that begins in Glenwood Canyon. A comfort station with restrooms and water fountains is usually visitors’ first stop. The paved path follows the Colorado River to the trailhead and offers picture-perfect red-rock canyon views. Though the trail is short, just 1.2 miles (1.9 km), it’s steep, so take your time and wear study footwear. During the hike, you’ll follow the dirt trail along the creek, scramble over boulder fields and walk along loamy foot paths. Wooden bridges add charm along the way. The final ascent is steep and many, especially those with young children, are grateful for the handrail. As you round the final bend, you’ll step onto a boardwalk that surrounds and protects the edge of the pristine mountain lake. Remember to practice leave no trace principles. Take plenty of time to enjoy the view of the three cascading waterfalls and lake. For a little more physical effort, follow the signs to Spouting Rock which ranges from a torrent to a trickle depending on water flow. Notice the hanging gardens of ferns and other foliage in the microclimate of the falls.

Now it’s time to soak at Iron Mountain Hot Springs

After hard work comes reward. You made it to Hanging Lake and back again, a steep and rigorous hike well worth all the effort. For your accomplishment, treat yourself to a long, soothing soak in the mineral-rich geothermal waters of Iron Mountain Hot Springs, open daily until 10 p.m. Our 17 soaking pools, freshwater family pool and jetted spa are just the ticket to feeling relaxed, restored and rejuvenated.