Hiking In The Canyon

Three well-maintained hiking trails start from the Glenwood Canyon Recreation Trail.  They are all uphill, so be sure to take plenty of water.  Hanging Lake Trail is the most popular; its parking lot is often full in the summer months.  Taking the shuttle and biking to the trailhead, then locking your bikes at the bottom and hiking up is a good option.  The other two trails follow bubbling creeks and are less crowded.

Hanging Lake Trail

  • Difficulty: Challenging Trail
  • Trail Use: Moderate
  • Length: 2.4 miles
  • Elevation: Starts at 6110 feet, ends at 7160 feet, highest point 7160 feet
  • Elevation Gain: +1050
  • Open To: Hiking

Access: From Glenwood Springs, drive 9.5 miles east on I-70 to the Hanging Lake exit (there is no westbound exit, if traveling westbound, take the Grizzly Creek exit and get back on I-70 going west). The trailhead is on the north side of the highway, about a .25 miles east of the parking lot. There is a full rest stop with restrooms, drinking water, and information. Parking can be busy in the summer months.

Trail Highlights: The trail follows up Dead Horse Creek Canyon, to Hanging Lake and Sprouting Rock. The trail begins in oak brush, Pinon Pin and Juniper, then enters a Douglas fir forest with serviceberry and cottonwoods. The trail is well-maintained with many switchbacks and stairs.

Some parts of the trail are rocky and there are steep stairs carved into the rock at the final approach to the lake. There is a short trail off shoot that will take you above Hanging Lake to Sprouting Rock (be sure to take this).

Grizzly Creek Hiking Trail

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trail Use: Moderate
  • Length: 3.4 miles
  • Elevation: Starts at 5994 feet, ends at 7733 feet, highest point 7733 feet
  • Elevation Gain: +1773 feet - 34 feet = +1739 feet
  • Open To: Hiking

Access: From Glenwood Springs travel east on I-70 to the Grizzly Creek exit, #121. The trailhead is on the north side of the highway next to the upper parking lot.

Trail Highlights: The trail travels up from the Colorado River through the canyon cut by Grizzly Creek, following the creek most of the time. The first 1/2 mile of the trail is broad and fairly level offering good spots to have a picnic near the creek.

The trail will become narrower and surrounded by dense, lush vegetation, some areas are very rocky. The last 1 1/2 miles are steep and covered with loose rocks with good views of Grizzly Creek and Glenwood Canyon near the top. The trail ends at a metal aqueduct that takes water out of the creek to be used for Glenwood Springs’ water supply.

Grizzly Creek History: Grizzly Creek was named by a man called Ryan, a wealthy game hunter who killed the largest grizzly bear in western Colorado in 1881 near the upper part of Grizzly Creek Canyon. Glenwood Canyon is home to a wide variety of wildlife including mule deer, porcupines, mountain lions, squirrels and some bighorn sheep, but no grizzly bears! The creek bed is dense with deciduous trees and shrubs which attract numerous species of song birds. Although it is difficult to cast in some areas because of the dense vegetation and large boulders, Grizzly Creek offers excellent fishing for whitefish in the lower stretches and brook trout in the upper sections.

No Name Trail (Jess Weaver Trail)

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trail Use: Moderate
  • Length: 6.3 miles
  • Elevation: Starts at 6260 feet, ends at 9746 feet, highest point 9746 feet
  • Elevation Gain: +3216 feet - 130 feet = +3486 feet
  • Open To: Hiking

Access: Travel west on I-70 from Glenwood Springs and take the No Name exit. Turn right after you exit and travel 0.7 miles to the parking area and trailhead.

Trail Highlights: The trail follows No Name Creek and the hillsides along the creek, with the first 1.5 miles being a fairly gentle grade. The trail then leaves the creek with a number of switchbacks and continues along the hillside for 1.5 miles, crossing three smaller streams, before returning to and crossing No Name Creek.

If you can find the aqueduct you can follow this to Grizzly Creek Trail which will lead you back to the Interstate at the Grizzly Creek trailhead and picnic area.

The trail returns to the hillside for another 1.5 miles before again crossing No Name Creek. The trail forks to the right, this trail is East No Name. Most of the trail is very rocky with grades of 20-30 percent. The trail ends at FDR 631, from here you can follow the road until it heads back to the east and catch East No Name and take it back down to it’s junction with No Name.

Note: There are a number of good camping sites along the upper reaches of the trail and water is available along the entire trail route. No camping along the first 5 miles. The trail offers excellent views of Glenwood Canyon, which is home to a wide variety of wild-life including mule deer, porcupines, mountain lions, squirrels, and bighorn sheep. The creek bed is dense with deciduous trees and shrubs which attract numerous species of song birds.