The hike is about 3 miles round trip, so plan on it taking anywhere from 2-4 hours. It’s a moderate trail, but it goes straight up for a little under a mile and a half. You gain 1,000 ft. in elevation. However, depending on how fast you are moving, it probably only takes an hour up to the majestic lake and a quick 10 minutes more to see the falls at the very top. We did this twice with our girls. They did the whole thing, but it did take some bribing. The hike is definitely kid-friendly. Dogs are not allowed into the park.
You can access the park and parking facility in Glenwood Canyon. I recommend getting an early start. The earlier the better to avoid crowds, although with the new social distancing plan, and only allowing around 200 permits a day, it might feel less crowded. If given the opportunity to reserve the earlier time slot I would. They don’t limit the time you can spend at Hanging Lake once you are there.
Get your cameras ready and spend some time taking in the views. When you get to the top, you will want to spend some time just taking in the beautiful falls and tranquil emerald green pool of crystal clear water. There are benches where you can sit, rest, and listen to the sounds. The 10 minutes more it will take to get to the falls is worth it. Be prepared to get a little wet if you hike to the falls. It’s a great way too cool off. The lake was formed by a fault that caused the lake to drop down below the valley floor. With years of the river flowing over Bridal Veil Falls carbonates have been deposited and dissolved to help build the lake edge. The lake was deemed a National Natural Landmark in 2011. Because of its fragile ecosystem, you are not allowed to touch the water or stand on the logs in the lake. Also, measures have been taken to limit the number of visitors per day to help maintain the park and natural treasure.
The trail itself is well maintained, but a little technical. Wear appropriate shoes and watch your step. Some spots can be slick and there are plenty of things to trip over. Bring plenty of water and maybe a few snacks for bribing the kids 😉