Hanging Lake is a semi-treacherous hike with one of the most beautiful views Colorado has to offer. The fragile shoreline of Hanging Lake is composed of travertine, created when dissolved limestone is deposited on rocks and logs, creating travertine layers. Hanging Lake is located on a fault line and was formed when roughly an acre and a half of the valley floor sheared off from the fault and dropped to what is now the shallow bed of the lake. The turquoise colors of the lake are produced by carbonate minerals that have dissolved in the water.
Hanging Lake Trail is a well-marked 2.8 mile out-and-back hike up to the lake where you can experience crystal clear water and 2 separate waterfalls flowing into the lake. You can also walk up behind the waterfalls for a look over the lake. Hanging Lake sits about 7 miles east of Glenwood Springs. The trailhead is located on the Glenwood Springs Bike & Pedestrian Trail. This trail follows Dead Horse Creek which leads to the Colorado River. Although the hike is short in miles, it's mostly uphill, and climbing over rocks can make it difficult as well, so the hike takes about 2 hours or so.
It's a very fun and exhausting hike if you're not used to it, but as long as you bring plenty of water, there are areas to rest at all along the way. I even stopped a few times to catch my breath and take in the forest air and views. Once you're up at the top, there are areas for you to take pictures and benches to sit on, so you can sit in serenity and look out at this magnificent, wondrous, natural spectacle.
I loved this hike! It was challenging, but the view is totally worth that challenge. I would suggest this trail to anyone who visits. It may be 3 hours west of Denver, but the drive is gorgeous and the hike takes it to the next level!