Your Post Hanging Lake Hangout

Hike Hanging Lake, then soak at Iron Mountain Hot Springs

Your Post Hanging Lake Hangout

The US Forest Service is rebuilding Hanging Lake Trail Spring through Fall 2024. Hiking is closed Monday to Thursday and limited on weekends during construction. Reservations are required. See VisitGlenwood’s website for more information.

As an alternative, spend a day hiking around Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park for cave tours, rides and other amusements. Afterward come visit Iron Mountain Hot Springs for a feel-good, after-hike hiatus.

Hanging Lake: Stunning Geology & Views

Opt to include Hanging Lake on your Glenwood Springs vacation itinerariesThe iconic lake is just minutes away from Glenwood Springs by car. Designated a National Natural Landmark, Hanging Lake was formed along a geologic fault line. At one time, the lake was located higher up, but the land mass dropped when the fault gave way, creating a shallow lakebed. The shoreline comprises layers of travertine that have been slowly deposited over a long period. The travertine acts as a delicate rim that surrounds the cliffside part of the lake. Should it become damaged, Hanging Lake would spill over the edge and become a waterfall!

A sturdy boardwalk and viewing deck protect the delicate travertine shelf and, at the same time, make it easy for visitors to take in the beauty and scenery before them. The water is a deep turquoise and stocked with a thriving fish population. Keep your rod at home, though. Fishing is strictly off-limits at Hanging Lake. A magnificent triple waterfall feeds the lake and supports a microclimate rich in mosses and ferns that flourish in the ever-present mist.

For those with energy left after the steep hike, follow the trail above the falls to Spouting Rock, where a torrent of water shoots through a hole in the rock bored by hydraulic forces.

While the climb up is hard on the lungs, the descent is a test for the legs. Some people think the hike to the base is more challenging than the hike to the lake. If you fall in that camp, take it easy, use hiking poles, go slow, and use handrails along the sections with drop-offs.

Iron Mountain Hot Springs: Your Après-Hike Hot Spot

Soaking in chemical-free, 100 percent pure geothermal water is deeply relaxingTop off your trek to Hanging Lake with a soothing soak at Iron Mountain Hot Springs. The warm, mineral-rich water is the perfect post-hike remedy whether you have fatigued muscles or just want to enjoy some dedicated relaxation time. Iron Mountain Hot Springs has multiple soaking pools, each with a different temperature. The best way to find your favorite is to try them all.

Like Hanging Lake, Iron Mountain offers visitors some great views. Situated along the riverbank, the soaking pools overlook the Colorado River and all the activity that takes place on it. Eagles, ducks, and kingfishers constantly use the water as a liquid landing strip or dive bomb the waterway for a fresh fish meal. There’s also a good chance you’ll see kayakers and anglers floating by the hot springs.

Just like après-ski is a thing, so is après-hike. The Sopris Café serves up delicious appetizers and small bites. Enjoy them in the café or at a poolside table. Cocktails, beer, and wine come in pool-friendly containers for a sip and soak good time.

Learn more about pairing activities with hot springs and make your reservations to soak at Iron Mountain Hot Springs today!

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Karin Gamba

Karin Gamba has been writing professionally for the travel and tourism markets for nearly two decades. She has promoted a wide array of travel products that include destination towns, vacation resorts, golf courses, ski areas, spas, hotels, restaurants and countless visitor attractions. Karin especially loves writing about her hometown of Glenwood Springs.

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