Wonderful Waterfalls

Wonderful Waterfalls

I’ve been absent from my blog for a couple of weeks.

Shame on me.

I went on a hike. Well, I went on a lot of hikes. Colorado is a hiker’s paradise. And when you combine the hiking with photography, the results are somewhere beyond paradise.

colorado river in glenwood canyon

We decided to take a little staycation this year. Part of our staycation actually involved going out of state for a quick trip to visit family. On the way back, we were going to pass by a hiking spot that I have been wanting to visit for nearly two decades.  My family agreed that I have finally been waiting long enough.

view from hanging lake

We hiked Hanging Lake in Glenwood Canyon.  It’s right along I-70 about an hour east of Grand Junction. As if Glenwood Canyon wasn’t beautiful enough, this little gem is tucked away in there. It’s only directly accessible from the eastbound side of I-70.  If you’re going west, you actually have to pass it by a couple of miles, turn around and go back. But it’s well worth it.

chipmunk
Yes, he really did seem to be posing for pictures. Too bad there was no lunch in the deal.

The hike is only 1.2 miles and it takes about an hour or so each way, but be forewarned–there is a 1020-foot elevation gain, which makes parts of the hike more of a climb. The trail is excellent and well-maintained and shady nearly all the way up, at least in the summer when the trees have leaves, so it’s a pleasant hike. Don’t forget your water bottles (and my kids would say plenty of snacks).

cascade at hanging lake

Hanging Lake is well hidden.  While you hike up along a lovely creek with many beautiful cascades, you cannot see the lake and get no glimpses of it. Which means, I had no idea what I was going to see at the end.  I’d just heard it was worth the trek. And it was.

At the end of the hike, just when you think you’re never getting there, you’ll come upon a set of stone steps, perhaps as much as 18″ high (but with a very sturdy handrail). Climb the steps and find yourself on a wooden boardwalk. Continue along the boardwalk a few feet and you will be well rewarded with one of the most spectacular clear, aqua pools with waterfalls that I have seen in many a year.

hanging lake

family at hanging lake
The lake doesn’t seem too deep–and yes, you can see all the way to the bottom. No swimming, though, which I’m sure helps to keep it crystal clear.

After exploring the lake area, make sure you follow the short Spouting Rock trail that leads from the boardwalk entrance to the lake up to a pair of cool waterfalls, one of which emanates from a hole in the side of the cliff.  Not only is it beautiful, but it will cool you off nicely for the walk back down. In the Spouting Rock area, you can follow the trail behind the waterfalls and around the top of Hanging Lake’s waterfalls for another beautiful view of the lake.

hanging lake waterfall

view from hanging lake
Hanging Lake from Spouting Rock
columbine hanging lake
You didn’t really think I’d climb halfway up the side of a mountain and NOT photograph the wildflowers, did you?

Happy Hiking!

By the way, I’m always on the hunt for great hikes and great scenery, especially in Colorado.  If you’ve got any suggestions about where I ought to hike next, please leave them for me in the comments section.

And if you’d like to see more images from this and some of my other recent hikes, visit my Facebook page here.

22 thoughts on “Wonderful Waterfalls

  • August 12, 2012 at 1:27 pm
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    I just completed that hike yesterday for the 2nd time in 3 years or so. It is a hard hike for me since I am out of shape but oh so worth the end result. So beautiful and peaceful.

    Reply
    • August 12, 2012 at 4:26 pm
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      It is a tough hike, especially when you’re out of shape–I know that feeling. And you are right–it is sooo worth the end result.

      Reply
  • June 24, 2012 at 11:49 am
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    What beautiful shots! I love waterfalls, and that looks like paradise to me =) Glad you finally got to get your hike.

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  • June 23, 2012 at 10:43 am
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    Oh My Bob! Those photographs are beyond gorgeous Marie. WOWZA! What a hike…

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    • June 23, 2012 at 2:16 pm
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      Colorado is beautiful in all 12 months, Lauralee. You definitely need to make summer and fall visits here part of your agenda.

      Reply
    • June 23, 2012 at 2:16 pm
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      Me, too, Carly. There is no where I love to be more than in the out of doors. The hiking and the mountains are one of the big reasons I came to Colorado.

      Reply
  • June 23, 2012 at 8:52 am
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    What stunning beauty you have shared!! Thanks so much for taking us on your journey! Incredible pictures and really made my day!

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  • June 23, 2012 at 8:46 am
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    Marie, what beautiful photographs of a beautiful hike! I love to hike, too, and am drooling to go on this hike. Next time I’m in Colorado… 🙂

    If/when you ever get to Georgia, there’s a beautiful trail called the Ravens Cliffs Falls Trail. It’s on National Park land that leads to the Appalachian Trail. It’s 2.5 miles of easy to moderate trails following a winding stream and then you get to the cliffs, where you discover a waterfall that feeds the stream. There’s a large flat rock over the lower portion of the falls that’s perfect for picnicking. And if you’re up for a climb, the trail alongside the waterfalls leads to a spectacular view of much of North Georgia. If your travels bring you here, let me now and I’ll go with you!

    Reply
  • June 23, 2012 at 7:22 am
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    These are, in a word, magical! I love the way your exposure captures the motion of the water just right. Not too blurry, just enough to know that there is movement – a wonderful characteristic in an otherwise static image.

    My favorite is the small cascade! Beautiful!

    Reply
    • August 24, 2011 at 4:51 pm
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      I agree, Linda. I have waited nearly 25 years to get here and I am definitely planning on enjoying every bit of it I can now that I’m here.

      Reply
  • August 16, 2011 at 10:30 am
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    Love the pictures and those waterfalls are absolutely beautiful. Love the effect you have on the pictures. Great to connect with you on Twitter.
    Wishing you a wonderful day,
    Barbara
    Spanish for Kids

    Reply
  • August 11, 2011 at 10:27 am
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    Oh, Marie……..You have to be my favorite nature photographer, such a good eye! Love your writing, too!

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  • August 11, 2011 at 8:37 am
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    Well no wonder you took a couple weeks off. No better reason i can think of. These are spectacular.

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  • August 11, 2011 at 8:37 am
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    So pretty! I totally want to be there right now 🙂

    Reply

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