Colorado Hanging Lake Hike Pass Requirements and Parking

June 5, 2015 4 Comments »

Hanging Lake Hike Colorado
Hanging Lake Colorado

I’m in Colorado this week attending an Adventure Travel Conference, learning about a bunch of cool new adventures that people like me and you can take. I’m also doing a few adventures myself: horseback riding, white water rafting, hut-to-hut hiking, and visiting breweries/distilleries (Yes – drinking is adventure travel…really it is).  This is my first time in the Snowmass/Aspen area, and let me tell you – it’s beautiful!  There’s a ton of snow in the Colorado Rockies, and that means the rivers are bloated and wild, which will make whitewater rafting quite an adventure.  I’ll definitely be firing up the GoPro for that!

Up, Up, Up to Hanging Lake

While driving from Denver to Snowmass yesterday my friend, Dan, took me on a great hike at Hanging Lake.  1,000 ft elevation gain was just what I needed to start to acclimate to the Rockies again.  The lake at the top really was that color aqua…no enhancement necessary.

The hike goes to heights of 7323 Feet, so this is no walk in the park.  But the views at the top are worth it. The lake was formed by a geologic fault, which caused the lake bed to drop away from the gently sloping valley above it. It probably should have been called Dropping Lake. Water flows into the lake over Bridal Veil Falls, and the whole area was named a National Natural Landmark in 2011.

Explore Piney Lake – a side of Vail you’ve never seen before

Plan Ahead if You Want to Hike Hanging Lake Trail as of 2018

Hanging Lake, a National Natural Landmark, is one of the most popular hikes in the state of Colorado but during the peak summer months, the trail becomes overcrowded and the trailhead parking lot fills up quickly. In 2017, there were 184,000 visitors, a 23 percent increase over 2016, which prompted the U.S. Forest Service to instigate an environmental management plan limiting the number of hikers to 615 per day to help preserve the integrity of its natural beauty and uniqueness. 

The overall goal of this proposal is to create and implement a management system that protects Hanging Lake’s natural resources, manages trail congestion and high visitor use, improves the visitor’s outdoor adventure experience, and supports local tourism. The plan will benefit the fragile ecology by effectively protecting its natural and historic resources, limiting soil compaction to improve soil health, plant viability, stream health, and wildlife habitat, and improving the experience for hikers. Visitors will be given the option to take a shuttle to and from the site and be required to purchase a pass in advance via the website reservation system. 

More Hanging Lake FAQs

Hanging Lake Hike Colorado
hanging lake hike colorado

Discover mountains, dunes, and canyons on this southwest Colorado road trip

hanging lake hike
hanging Lake HIke Colorado
Hanging Lake Hike colorado
hanging lake hike
Summer in the Rockies!

My summer has many more adventures in store.  I’ll be heading to Wisconsin and Minnesota to see family after Colorado, then to Belize with my niece Allie, and August will be spent going above the Arctic Circle…yes, you read that right.  I’ll be spending August with polar bears, walruses, and more. Even though my life of travel has its ups and downs – it’s worth every moment.

Check out my hiking packing list: essential hiking gear for any hike

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5 Travel Essentials to Take on Every Trip

Klean Kanteen 16oz (w/ Café Cap)

One of the things I like about Klean Kanteen is that they have a system where you really just need to purchase one insulated bottle and then use their interchangeable caps for your different needs; caps for sipping drinks, straws lids for cold drinks, or chug caps. One bottle is really all you need!

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