Hanging Lake, the Popular Glenwood Springs, Colorado, Hiking Trail is Designated a National Natural Landmark

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Hanging Lake, a favorite hiking trail located in the White River National Forest near Glenwood Springs, Colorado, was recently placed on the nation’s registry of National Natural Landmarks by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. The designation is reserved for sites with outstanding examples of biological and geological resources.

Hanging Lake is a favorite hike for Glenwood Springs visitors

We have always considered Hanging Lake to be a Glenwood Springs treasure

The pristine turquoise lake known as Hanging Lake has always been one of the most popular hikes for visitors to Glenwood Springs. Located along Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon, and conveniently close to Glenwood Springs, the breathtaking one-mile trail has awed countless hikers for decades. Now the scenic spot has another big fan – the U.S. federal government, which recently designated Hanging Lake as a National Natural Landmark (NNL).

“We have always considered Hanging Lake to be a Glenwood Springs treasure,” said Lindsey Lewis, Vice President of Tourism Marketing for the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association. “We are thrilled about the National Natural Landmark designation; it helps ensure the conservation and stewardship of this very special place for future generations.”

With the addition of Hanging Lake and five other sites, there are now 591 NNLs in the U.S. According to the National Park Service website, “National Natural Landmark sites are selected for their outstanding condition, illustrative value, rarity, diversity, and value to science and education.” Hanging Lake is an outstanding example of a lake created by the deposition of travertine, a type of limestone. The cascading falls supply the lake with icy cold water perfectly suited to the lake’s trout inhabitants. Both the lake and surrounding falls, including nearby Spouting Rock, support delicate hanging gardens and a rare wetland ecosystem. Naturally, fishing and swimming in the pristine lake are strictly prohibited.

Hanging Lake was also the recipient of another recent accolade. In an article titled Great Lakes (June 2011), the Denver-based magazine 5280 which features notable destinations, people and activities throughout the state of Colorado, named Hanging Lake one of Colorado’s most magnificent alpine lakes. The article’s author hit the trail extra early to watch the first rays of sunlight glimmer on the surface of the turquoise waters.

These days, no matter what time hikers hit the trail, the climb to Hanging Lake is more enjoyable than ever thanks to a major overhaul that occurred a year ago. During the summer of 2010, Hanging Lake Trail was closed for approximately three months while a $1.1 million repair and reconstruction project was completed. Under the guidance of the Forest Service, the popular trail received numerous improvements. For hikers, new handrails now make the final ascent to the lake a little easier. There is a new boardwalk with observation decks that partially surround the lake and offer sturdy footing and plenty of camera-ready vantage points. To keep the lake environment pristine, new retaining walls and other preventative measures were built to keep sediment from draining into and polluting the crystal-clear water.

The Hanging Lake trailhead is located approximately 10 miles east of Glenwood Springs along I-70. The trail follows Dead Horse Creek, with foot bridges spanning the creek along the way. If the trail seems a little rigorous, hikers can take a break at one of many convenient rest spots. Near the top, the trail becomes rocky and steep, but handrails help guide visitors to the boardwalk that frames a portion of the lake. Follow the signs the short distance to Spouting Rock, where water barrels through a narrow hole in the limestone rock spraying hikers with an invigorating mist of cold water.

For more information about Hanging Lake and the many other attractions and activities available in Glenwood Springs, please visit Glenwood Springs online at visitglenwood.com.

About Glenwood Springs
Glenwood Springs is located between Aspen and Vail, 165 miles west of Denver or 90 miles east of Grand Junction, on I-70 off Exit 116. For more information about Glenwood Springs, Colorado, call 970-945-6589 or go to visitglenwood.com. For lodging reservations, call 888-4-GLENWOOD (888-445-3696). A complete press kit and press releases are available at http://www.visitglenwood.com/press-kit.

Media Contacts:
Lindsey Lewis, Vice President of Tourism Marketing
Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association
lindsey (at) glenwoodchamber (dot) com
Vicky Nash, Public Relations Representative
Resort Trends, Inc. – media communications for the travel & tourism industry
Vicky (at) resorttrends (dot) com


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Lindsey Lewis, Vice President Tourism Marketing

Vicky Nash
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