5 alternatives to hiking Hanging Lake | PostIndependent.com

5 alternatives to hiking Hanging Lake

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Glenwood Canyon’s Hanging Lake may be one of the best-known hikes in the area. But that also means it’s one of the most crowded.

Take a break from the crowds and turn your attention to other Garfield County hikes. Much like Hanging Lake, these are nearby, easily accessible and provide views worth writing home about.

Still set on Hanging Lake? Here are our tips for hiking it responsibly.

Rifle Arch

Rifle Arch is a hidden gem located just west of Rifle. This trail offers beautiful views of Battlement Mesa and the Roan Plateau and gives a real sense of life in the western high desert. The trail meanders through juniper trees and sage brush along a dusty path that feels right out of an old Western movie. A gradual 1.5-mile hike leads you to the base of a grand arch. Those ambitious enough can scramble up the rocks for a breathtaking view underneath the arch and to the valley floor.

Getting there: From I-70 and Rifle head north on Highway 13. Stay left on 13 when 325 branches off toward Rifle Gap State Park. The trailhead is at a parking area about 3.5 miles after the split.

For more info: riflenow.org

Mushroom Rock

Headed upvalley? Mushroom Rock is located just north of Carbondale in the Red Hill trail network. The trail is a steep climb up and over rocks and a bright red terrain but quickly offers gorgeous views of Carbondale, the Crystal River and Thompson Divide.

Getting there: Parking is located at the intersection of Colorado highways 82 and 133.

For more info: 970-963-1890, carbondale.com

Grizzly Creek

Located in Glenwood Canyon between Glenwood Springs and Hanging Lake, Grizzly Creek trail is a perfect quick getaway that’s easy to get to. Offering a creekside walk and stunning cliff views, this trail is a gradual incline that gets you away from city life for as long as desired. Grizzly Creek is an estimated 7-mile in-and-out trail. But for those looking for a longer experience, there is the option to continue the hike up into the Flat Tops Wilderness.

Getting there: Take the Grizzly Creek exit (121) in Glenwood Canyon and park anywhere in the designated parking lots.

For more info: 970-945-2521, visitglenwood.com

East Elk Creek

East Elk Creek is located just north of New Castle and is an easy and moderately traveled hike. It’s perfect for a group hike with friends, a trail run or a quick weekend camping excursion. The trail follows the beautiful East Elk Creek until crossing a bridge, and then steadily climbs past the old Gray Eagle mine location then switchbacks before connecting to Spring Creek trail before extending 18 miles into the Flat Tops Wilderness.

Getting there: Take Seventh Street/Midland Avenue in New Castle and follow it left to Buford Road (CR 245). In 1.2 miles take the right branch of the Y onto East Elk Road (CR 241). In 4.3 miles there is a parking lot on the left.

For more info: 970-945-2521, visitglenwood.com

Avalanche Creek

This secluded but close trail is located just north of Redstone off of Colorado Highway 133. The serene path follows the gorgeous Avalanche Creek before opening up to the beautiful Duley Park meadows.

Getting there: From Carbondale, drive south for 12 miles on Colorado 133. Turn left at the sign for Avalanche Creek and follow the road 2 1/2 miles, past Avalanche Creek campground.

For more info: 970-925-3445, carbondale.com

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