Hiking Hanging Lake with Kids

Hiking Hanging Lake is a favorite of ours.  And hiking, in general, is one of those activities that you don’t have to plan for, you don’t have to invest a lot of money in and it is so good for every aspect of your body, inside and out!  It works your heart, improves blood pressure, strengthens your core and so much more.  You don’t need skill and it’s a fantastic way to get the entire family outside having fun!

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I love hiking, I really do, it’s great for my mind, my body and my soul.  It is great for staying fit and, my favorite, it is uber cheap, even free if you aren’t a gear junkie.

Dan & Coby on the Hanging Lake Trail.
Dan & Coby on the Hanging Lake Trail.

I have a few parameters, though, when it comes to hiking.  I must have a destination, hiking a loop is excruciatingly boring.  It must be challenging enough to be worth my time, I want to be sore the next day.  And it must promise something fun and cool at the end, a great view, a waterfall, a swimming spot, it doesn’t matter, but I need a goal.

Hanging Lake; Photo Credit: Kady Kellogg
Hanging Lake; Photo Credit: Kady Kellogg

I prefer hiking in lesser known areas, hitting a hike where there are gazillions of “groups” and dogs and people is not why we head out into the great wilderness.

The scenery; Photo Credit: Kady Kellogg
The scenery; Photo Credit: Kady Kellogg

One exception to this rule is Hanging Lake in the Glenwood Canyon in Colorado.  This particular hike is so fantastic that we will endure the crowds, the people and the groups.

The waterfalls!
The waterfalls!

Table of Contents

Destination & Journey

The destination is one of the best I have ever seen.  Smack dab in the middle of Colorado is this lake that is blue in color and surrounded by waterfalls.  A blue/green lake!  Waterfalls!  It’s like Hawaii, no lie.

The Trail ...
The Trail …

The journey up is pretty spectacular too.  I’ll never forget the first time I hiked up there.  We had just moved to Colorado, so I was enamored with the mountains, the cliffs, the terrain.  It was spectacular.  But then to reach the top and see Hanging Lake?  Blown.  Away.


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It is challenging, but not so challenging that little Elly couldn’t do it all herself.  It is a good 1.7 miles up and 1.7 miles down and the change in elevation is a whopping 1,080’!  It’s not a beginner hike, or for anyone wihout decent footing, but it’s totally doable if you are in reasonable shape and enjoy a challenge.  Be sure to bring plenty of water!!


Playing in the Creek on the way up!
Playing in the Creek on the way up!

It’s a great 2-3 hour hike, depending on how quickly you take it or if you stop to admire the cliffs or the cascades along the way. Our kids brought their little foam boaters and had a blast sending them down the creek.

It’s right off the highway too, so it’s super convenient in that regard too.  However, this makes it a very popular hike, so be sure to get there early or you won’t get a parking spot!

The fam ...
The fam …

Family Hike

Everything I do involves my family, from whitewater kayaking to hiking, we do everything together.  Hanging Lake is a great family hike.  There are rocks to climb and jump off off, there is a creek (if there’s water, my kids love it), waterfalls (at the top you can stand under a few) … I mean seriously, it’s a kids paradise, the whole way up!

Always in a tree!
Always in a tree!















In case this blog left you wanting MORE Hanging Lake … here’s a video we threw together to just show how much fun you really can have on a hike with your kids.

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