One great feature of Colorado is the convenience of recreating in beautiful areas and having access to some of the most breathtaking views within a short distance from the I-70 corridor. While Hanging Lake seems like a utopian-like place, (and it is) there are extreme consequences caused by humans that take a huge toll on these places. Hanging Lake is the perfect example of a place that has the potential to be ruined.

According to the town of Glenwood Springs, Hanging Lake is a rare example of a lake formed by travertine deposition where the natural geologic and hydrologic processes continue to operate as they have done for thousands of years. The area also contains a thriving hanging garden plant community and waterfalls. It was designated a National Natural Landmark by the Secretary of the Interior in 2011, making the area a true destination for many.

Located 10 miles east of Glenwood Springs along I-70, the area is accessed by a steep mile-long hike along Dead Horse Creek.

According to the town, Hanging Lake was formed by a geologic fault which caused the lake bed to drop away from the gently sloping valley above it. Water flows into the lake over Bridal Veil Falls.

Be Responsible, Be Respectful, Leave No Trace

The fragile ecosystem that Hanging Lake contains can see up to 1,100 people per day during busy seasons. The area is on the verge of being loved-to-death by visitors and has already been closed for restoration purposes from heavy traffic – so recreating responsibly at Hanging Lake is extremely important. Social media has almost ruined the Hanging Lake area as visitors go to great extents to take photos in the most beautiful – but often restricted – areas.

Swimming, dipping body parts into the water, standing under or on top of waterfalls, and walking on the fallen trees within the lake are prohibited. Dogs and fishing are not allowed and violators can suffer heavy consequences. If the area is closed because of human impact, many people will miss out on the beauty that the area has to offer, so please enjoy responsibly.

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We are driven by our deep respect for our environment, and our passionate commitment to sustainable tourism and conservation. We believe in the right for everyone - from all backgrounds and cultures - to enjoy our natural world, and we believe that we must all do so responsibly. Learn More