Hanging Lake is a splendid winter trek | PostIndependent.com

Hanging Lake is a splendid winter trek

Dale ShrullGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent/Dale Shrull

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. It’s truly a winter wonderland, where snow, ice and Mother Nature merge to create a spectacular canvas of wintry splendor.OK, let’s not get carried away.But it’s a very special winter trek with some great views.Hanging Lake is a very popular destination in Garfield County. The summer hike takes thousands of visitors a year to the lake that hangs from Glenwood Canyon. The 1.2 mile hike rises 1,020 feet.The trailhead is down the bike path about 14 mile, then the trail itself is up. The hike starts with an incline and has very few flat stretches.In the winter, the views are so much different, and so is the work – it’s a little harder. Thanks to the snow and ice, and colder temperatures, hikers have their work cut out for them, but this is indeed a hike worth the effort.

The first thing hikers must realize is that the short 1.2-mile hike has fooled many. This is a very strenuous hike with lots of climbing.In the winter, the trail is packed with snow and there are places that can be very treacherous due to the ice. Snowshoes or crampons can be used, but they generally aren’t needed. Like any hike in any season, good footwear is key. Winter hiking takes a little more preparation. Wear layers, bring gloves and a hat. It’s easy to take off layers. There’s very little sun along the trail – that’s good in the summer but a little chilly in the winter.A walking stick can be handy and a pair of ski poles is the perfect tool. But by no means are these necessary.The trip is tough but take your time, rest often and bite off manageable chunks. You’ll get there.A small wooden shelter is near the top. After a short flat section, there will be a couple more short climbs.

The final ascent can be the most intimidating. A metal railing is there for you to pull yourself along. Some of the time, the ice that forms along this area can be a tremendous challenge. This really is the place where care must be taken the most. Take your time, use the railing and watch every step.Don’t be too freaked out, this isn’t like tackling Everest or anything, just be careful, and remember, you’re almost there.Once your at the top, it’s time to relax and take in the beauty.It really is quite a marvel. A lake hanging from the canyon. Fish can been seen in the lake and several benches are situated around the lake to rest and have a snack.Hanging lake has been attracting visitors for more than a century. In old photos, a tree can be seen lying inn the lake. the same tree is still floating in the lake. But please stay off the tree, it’s a fascinating item that’s remains a timeless feature of the lake.

The man-made boardwalk, railings and benches don’t detract from the natural surroundings at all.The difference between Hanging Lake in the summer and Hanging lake in the winter is stunning. A unique contrast like none other.From the actual hike to the lake, the trip is so vastly different in each season- it’s why, for outdoor enthusiasts, it’s a trip that must be made.Another attraction is Spouting Rock, a little water fall that shoots directly out from a cliff face. During some winters a giant cone of ice will form from the falling water.This trip is just a few hundred extra yards up a little hill, so don’t miss it.The entire scene offers a splendid winter experience. Toss in the fact that there’s a real sense of accomplishment from the strenuous hike.

A hike to a splendid destination makes for a perfect winter outing.Now for the trip down. It’s easier, obviously, but take care, going down can be a slippery trip. Take your time and watch your steps. It’s not too bad.The trek to the top isn’t close to as popular as the summer hike but there are still lots of weekend hikers making the trip.Hanging Lake remains one of the most unique outdoor destinations of the area. The appeal of the winter trip is in the contrast it offers from the summertime hike.Now that you mention it, maybe the opening description wasn’t much of a stretch.It’s indeed a winter wonderland.

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