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Colorado’s Hanging Lake Is So Popular Visitors Have to Request a Permit in Advance

- Blaine Harrington III/Getty Images
Blaine Harrington III/Getty Images

Clear, turquoise water is usually used to describe a beach in the Caribbean, not a mountain lake in Colorado. Perhaps this is why people flock to see Colorado’s Hanging Lake for themselves.

The lake boasts rare turquoise-colored water that comes from carbonate minerals from the fault line that sits below the lake.

- Blaine Harrington III/Getty Images
Blaine Harrington III/Getty Images

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Hanging Lake is only accessible by foot and visitors must hike approximately 1.2 steep miles to reach the lake. Still, the destination is so popular, summer visitors are required to secure an access permit in advance. During the peak hiking season from May to October only 615 people can access the lake each day and visitors must park at the Hanging Lake Welcome Center and make a reservation for a shuttle, bike, or hike to the trailhead. These restrictions – in addition to a ban on dogs and swimming – help protect the lake’s fragile ecosystem.

- Getty Images
Getty Images

For 2019’s peak season, thousands of visitors have already secured online permits which opened to the public on April 1.

- Getty Images
Getty Images

The lake, which is located near Glenwood Springs, is a three-hour drive from Denver. Aside from the crystal-clear waters of Hanging Lake, visitors can visit Sprouting Rock, a waterfall that pours through holes in limestone cliffs.

Visitors to Hanging Lake before April 30 do not need to secure a permit, but starting May 1, a reservation and shuttle costs $12 per person and must be booked in advance.

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