I have another hike with spectacular pictures to share with you today! This weekend’s adventures really set the bar high for the rest of the year’s hiking plans. After the Maroon Bells on Monday, I honestly didn’t expect anything nearly as beautiful. Hanging Lake is a completely different hike, but it’s just a gorgeous in it’s own way!
The signs at the base describe this hike as difficult. I think what they really meant was strenuous. The hike is short – only a mile to the lake at the top. The trail is rocky, but very well maintained. There are actual steps made out of rocks for most of the trail, so there’s no need for scrambling or struggling for footing.
I call this hike strenuous because of the grade – this is a steep climb! I read a description somewhere comparing this hike to a stairmaster, which is a pretty good description. If you’re acclimated to the elevation and in good aerobic shape, you’ll find it a great cardio workout. If you’re not acclimated or not aerobically conditioned, it will be a bit challenging for you. With that said, we saw people of all shapes and sizes at the lake – you’ll just want to plan extra time to stop and rest along the way.
We started in the afternoon and the trail was fairly crowded, but people were fairly courteous around the way and we were able to easily work around them. The views of the canyon and waterfalls on the way were fantastic and I made a point to stop & look around periodically. I easily get focused on the task ahead and push through, but the views demand appreciation. I have to remind myself it’s not a race!
At the end of the hike, there’s a short very steep section of steps. If you put your head down and climb, it’s over before you know it! Then you’re rewarded when spouting rock and hanging lake is just around the corner.
If you climb up to the left of Spouted Rock, you’ll find a path to a hidden waterfall that feeds the rock. It’s a huge crushing waterfall, quite a sight to see!
After returning to Spouted Rock, you keep walking past to see Hanging Lake (literally around the corner). Not quite the scale of the first waterfall, but many more that spill into a clear blue lake. It’s just spectacular!
The pictures here really don’t do this justice, it’s hard to capture on film. Just take my word for it and add to your “must-hike” list right now.
The hike down is fairly uneventful and not as hard on the legs as I expected, but it’s certainly adding some extra work to those legs. Be careful not to wear yourself out on that uphill climb, to make sure that is your experience too.
On our way home from this hike, we talked about how fun it was to spend two days in a row hiking. For me, it reinforced one of the reasons I workout. Being able to explore the outdoors and experience hikes like this is something I always want to be able to do!
Questions for you:
Do you prefer steep & short or long & flat hikes?
Do you think about your workouts as a way to prepare for adventures like this?