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getting in touch with my inner colorado girl

How I spend a day off


Every once in awhile I think you should ask yourself, “What is something I’ve always wanted to do but never have had the time for?” And once you have that answer, no matter how silly it seems, you should do it.

My list, as of last week, had two top contenders – hiking Hanging Lake and going to the Colorado Ski Museum in Vail. I know these seem like minor, non-Paulalike activities in the scheme of things but that’s actually kind of why they’re on my list and I’ve never gotten around to doing them! Hanging Lake is a two mile round trip hike to a beautiful, dreamlike blue lake just outside of Glenwood Springs. The problem has been that if I’m going to drive three hours to go hiking on a summer weekend it’s probably going to be to go do a 14er.  I have faced the same issue with the Colorado Ski Museum. If I’m going to drive two hours to Vail on a winter weekend (and pay $25 for parking) you better believe I’m going to go skiing all day.

Thanks to an incredibly obscure federal holiday (what’s up Columbus Day!) I had this past Monday off of work, and I decided to finally tackle an item on my list: Hanging Lake. I figured it would probably be extra pretty with some nice fall foliage at this time of year. I was not disappointed.

Foliage on the hike.

The sign before the trailhead warns hikers that it’s a difficult hike, but I was just kind of like “whatever”. I mean I hiked Belford/Oxford last week, two 14ers, so this was going to be nothing. This two mile(ish) hike wasn’t going to do me in, right? Sort of wrong. It was definitely a very vertical hike, though it certainly was not long. The scenery was pretty awesome along the way, and I loved hiking through foliage along the stream. It was a little magical.

Fall hiking.

After my mile long hike up, I made it to Hanging Lake.

These pictures make Hanging Lake look pretty incredible. And I dropped my actual camera in a lake three months ago, so these were all taken on my iPhone. I was also stoked to learn that Hanging Lake is a National Natural Landmark, so I was supporting the National Park Service even on my day off!

Places like Hanging Lake aren’t normally my jam but I’m glad I got to see it. It was a little more crowded than the mountain lakes I like to frequent, however, I was totally expecting that. My recommendation is that if you like Hanging Lake, you’ll love Chasm Lake and Lion Lake and some of the other amazing hikes at Rocky Mountain National Park!

So now that I finally got around to Hanging Lake, who wants to go to the Colorado Ski Museum with me?!


Author: paulamahla

Typical Colorado girl that can't make up her mind. Trail running, hiking, climbing, camping, CrossFit, ultimate frisbee, and skiing? E, all of the above.

3 thoughts on “How I spend a day off

  1. I haven’t hiked Hanging Lake for the same reason as you…looks nice though!

    You’ll get through the CO ski museum in half an hour…definetly combine it with something else. Go hike in Vail…Booth Falls or Gore Lake or something.

  2. This is awesome. Thanks for sharing. I’m taking Friday off to go on a hike and thought I’d do mint Evans as my first 14er but maybe this is better.

  3. I love hanging lake. Although, you’re right, it’s crowded. I’ve been going there since I was a wee little one…and I’ve noticed its increase in popularity; they’ve even “remodeled” the top….that is, they fixed the rock slide up to the right of the lake. I think its so beautiful, it’s still one of my favorite hikes. Worth the work. Definitely deceiving – only one mile! lol, but it’s a tough mile!

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