On our last day in Glenwood we decided to try the hiking trail up to Hanging Lake. Hanging Lake is located in beautiful Glenwood Canyon and is a truly amazing place. The weather was in the high 40’s to low 50’s at the trailhead so we headed up the short yet steep trail. The total length of the trail is just 1.2 miles but it gains about 1,500 feet in elevation.
The beginning of the trail was mostly dry as we made our way through a fairly large boulder field. After about 1/8 of a mile of relatively easy, yet steep going, we entered into the shadows of the steep canyon walls. The trail quickly turned to snow packed and as we hiked higher it turned to sheer ice. We were able to climb and or slip and slide for about another 1/2 mile before the narrow trail, ice and deep snow banks triggered a decision point. After scouting up the trail a bit more and seeing at least another 1/8 mile of similar sheer ice conditions, we decided that discretion was the better part of valor and turned back down the trail.
On the way down both Sandy and I both increased our flexibility by doing the “splits”, several times. not by design, but caused by slipping and sliding downward. Both of us wished we had ice crampons or at least YakTrax affixed to our boots, but we made the best of every available rock and exposed root along the trail.
About half way down, we encountered a group of teenagers on their way up. All were not prepared for what awaited them. One of the young ladies wore ballet slippers. We gave them our trail condition report but it did not dissuade them from continuing. Further down the trail we encountered another couple who were stuck on a side hill while trying to avoid the icy trail. They were slowly working their way back down to the trail, again ill prepared for hiking in these conditions. Down a bit further was a young family toting their 2-3 year old uphill. Again, all kept forging forward despite the grim report we provided.
Once we made it to the bottom, we decided to hike the really nice bike trail along the Colorado River. The trail runs east from Glenwood for about 17 miles through one of the most beautiful rock canyons on earth.
We decided to come back to the bike path trail as we get closer to our Camino date to hike 15 miles, which would simulate our long days on the Camino. Hiking through Glenwood Canyon is absolutely beautiful and relatively easy.