Hanging Lake is located in Glenwood Canyon about seven miles east of Glenwood Springs in Colorado and falls within the protected area of the White River National Forest. It was named a National Natural Landmark in 2011. It teeters dramatically on the side of the canyon, with cliffs of horizontally stratified sandstone and limestone rising 400-600 feet around it.
Its beautifully clear aqua-blue waters are replenished by the Bridal Veil Falls waterfall, and clearly reflect the Douglas fir, box elder and Colorado blue spruce trees that surround it.
The fragile slopes and shoreline are composed of travertine, a pretty form of dissolved limestone deposit which comes to rest on rocks and logs, forming built up layers. This supports a thriving hanging garden of plant life, including species such as the rare Barneby’s Columbine and hanging garden sullivantia.
The lake can be reached by a trail a little over a mile long. This trail runs uphill and is quite steep in places, but there are handrails, plenty of rest points and it’s well worth it when you reach the top. A boardwalk stretches around part of lake’s perimeter.
The waters are teeming with trout, but the entire landscape is so delicate that no fishing – or indeed swimming – is allowed, despite the temptation.