February 11, 2004
(H) This is one of Glenwood’s most popular trails; an estimated 100,000 people make the short but steep hike each year. Its popularity is due to Hanging Lake itself, a wondrous, green pool about 25 feet deep at its center. It was formed by a geologic fault, which caused the lake bed to drop away from the valley floor above. The lake has been built up from dissolved carbonates, which are deposited on the shore as water flows over the edge. These deposits are fragile, so hikers must stay on the boardwalks.
A series of seven natural bridges grace the trail, each with historic importance (be sure to pick up the Forest Service’s Hanging Lake Trail Guide for all the rich details.) Beyond the lake, the trail leads upstream to Spouting Rock, underneath 75-foot-high falls . A small underground stream shoots through a hole in the rock. If you look closely, you can actually see about three spouts. A path leads behind and past Spouting Rock, providing a chance to cool off in the spray. Note that no dogs are allowed on the Hanging Lake Trail. 2.4 miles roundtrip.
(H) Its name tells a lot. Great views can be had of Glenwood Springs and the surrounding valleys. To get there, either hike up the Boy Scout Trail (a difficult climb – the trailhead is just north of the east end of 8th street downtown) or access it via Red Canyon Road. To reach the latter, drive Highway 82 south four miles to Red Canyon Road on the left (across from Buffalo Valley). Follow the road until you pass a gravel pit, then turn left onto Lookout Mountain Road. About 1 mile up is a parking pullout; hike the rest of the way from here. You’ll find scenic views and a picnic area at the summit, which ties into a network of trails. This route is part of the historic Ute trail. Boy Scout Trail: 6 miles roundtrip; Lookout Mountain Road access: about 2.5 miles roundtrip.
(H) Also known as the Jess Weaver Trail, this route is easily accessible from Glenwood Canyon’s No Name exit off I-70. It tends to be less crowded than the trail through adjacent Grizzly Creek canyon. After you exit the interstate, head north to a small canyon road. There are about five parking spots here.
The rocky trail, with slopes ranging from 15 to 20 percent, climbs through a deep, cliff-sided canyon along No Name Creek. The gulch is filled with big willows and serviceberry bushes in the lower reaches; the vegetation shifts to aspen and fir farther up. If you go the trail’s entire length, you’d eventually hook into the Transfer Trail, a rough jeep thoroughfare that leads to the Flat Tops Mountains. Because No Name Trail begins within the Glenwood Springs municipal water supply area, no camping is allowed along the first five miles; there are some great camp sites along the trail’s upper reaches. Up to 16 miles roundtrip.
(B) This cycling route gets you off the valley floor and into some of the Roaring Fork Valley’s most rustic ranchland, with awesome views of Mount Sopris and the Elk Range. It’s also one of the least populous places on Missouri Heights. A little-used parking lot at Blake and 13th, behind City Market, is a perfect starting point. From here, ride up Blake to 21st, turn right down the hill and across Grand Avenue, and continue along the old highway about three miles to the Buffalo Valley motel and restaurant. Turn east on Highway 82 toward Aspen, then immediately left up Red Canyon Road.
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Red Canyon Road climbs consistently for a couple of miles through a very scenic red canyon. At the head of Red Canyon you will see Road 119. Make a right and ride for 3 miles to Road 114. Take another right and pass Colorado Mountain College’s Spring Valley campus before you descend back down the hill. At Highway 82, turn right to return to Glenwood. There are many other doable loops in the Spring Valley area; consult the Glenwood Springs trail map, available at the Chamber of Commerce, for more options. About 13 miles total.
(B) From downtown Glenwood, this steep, narrow four-wheel-drive road is the most direct gateway to the Flat Tops, a wild world of flat-topped headlands and vast wilderness located north of the city. You’ll likely want to ride a shorter out-and-back rather than covering the entire distance of the road. From Highway 6 and 24, take Traver Trail Road a half mile to Transfer Trail. Follow the trail 1.5 miles to the trailhead. Up to 24 miles one way.