Winter Hike to Hanging Lake

Rate this Adventure 2.98 miles 1096 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Kelly Park

If you've done this hike in the Spring or Summer, be prepared for a completely different experience! The trail is transformed into an incredible winter wonderland as the lake freezes over and is surrounded by suspended icicles.

The normally easy hike becomes significantly more tricky with the addition of snow. While doable with regular boots or tennis shoes, it requires a little more care and caution and yaktrax or ice spikes are definitely helpful.

Start from the Hanging Lake parking lot and walk about a quarter mile to to the trailhead, taking in the beautiful canyon views. Turn left at the sign and begin the steep climb -- you will gain about 1000 ft of elevation very quickly as you pass frozen streams, snow capped mountain views, and powdery pine trees. But it's the last portion of the hike that is the trickiest. While there are rails to grab, there are steep drops on the side and it is slippery and difficult to find stable footing -- hang on tight!

Once you pass this final hurdle, the lake comes into sight and you realize it was totally worth it. Snap some photos of the beautiful frozen lake and suspended icicles, then take a quick side trip to Sprouting Rock -- the waterfall that feeds Hanging Lake. In the winter, the water freezes as it hits the stream and creates beautiful crystallized blocks of ice.

Fun to try: Many people slide down on their bottoms on their way down!

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