Hanging Valley Trail In Montana

Here is everything you need to know about the Hanging Valley Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Montana
  • Length: 6 miles.
  • Type: Hiking
  • Surface: gravel
  • Managed By: National Park Service
  • Permit Required?: Yes
  • Website: Info not available.

The Hanging Valley Trail, located in the picturesque Rocky Mountains, holds a significant historical background that dates back several centuries. The trail was initially used by indigenous tribes, such as the Ute and Arapaho, who traversed the rugged terrain for hunting and trading purposes. These tribes recognized the strategic importance of the Hanging Valley Trail, as it provided access to abundant wildlife and valuable resources.

During the 19th century, European settlers began to explore and settle in the region, leading to the establishment of mining communities. The Hanging Valley Trail played a crucial role in connecting these mining towns, allowing for the transportation of essential supplies and equipment. Miners relied heavily on this trail to transport their findings, such as gold, silver, and other precious minerals, to nearby towns and cities.

As the mining industry flourished, the Hanging Valley Trail witnessed an increase in activity, with pack animals and wagons frequently traveling along its path. The trail became a lifeline for these mining communities, enabling them to sustain their operations and contribute to the economic growth of the region. However, the treacherous nature of the trail posed numerous challenges, including steep inclines, narrow passages, and unpredictable weather conditions, making it a perilous journey for those who dared to traverse it.

Over time, as mining activities declined and modern transportation infrastructure developed, the significance of the Hanging Valley Trail diminished. Today, the trail serves as a reminder of the region’s rich historical heritage and the resilience of those who once relied on it for their livelihoods. It has also become a popular destination for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and a glimpse into the past.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Maroon Lake Trailhead: This is the primary access point for the Hanging Valley Trail. It is located near Aspen, Colorado, and provides parking facilities and restrooms.

2. Crater Lake Trailhead: This is another access point for the Hanging Valley Trail, located near Maroon Lake. It offers parking facilities and is a popular starting point for hikers.

3. West Maroon Pass Trailhead: This trailhead is located near Crested Butte, Colorado, and serves as an access point for the Hanging Valley Trail. It provides parking facilities and is often used by backpackers and long-distance hikers.

4. Schofield Park Trailhead: This is another access point for the Hanging Valley Trail, located near Crested Butte. It offers parking facilities and is a starting point for hikers looking to explore the Hanging Valley area.

5. East Maroon Portal Trailhead: This trailhead is located near Aspen and provides access to the Hanging Valley Trail. It offers parking facilities and is a popular starting point for day hikers.

6. Geneva Lake Trailhead: This is another access point for the Hanging Valley Trail, located near Crested Butte. It provides parking facilities and is often used by backpackers and hikers looking to explore the Hanging Valley area.

7. Copper Lake Trailhead: This trailhead is located near Crested Butte and serves as an access point for the Hanging Valley Trail. It offers parking facilities and is popular among backpackers and long-distance hikers.

These are some of the major access points or trailheads along the Hanging Valley Trail. There may be additional smaller access points or trailheads depending on the specific route or variation of the trail.

Transportation Available

1. Hanging Valley Trail Shuttle – Shuttle service specifically for the Hanging Valley Trail.
2. Local Taxi Service – Taxi service available for transportation needs in the area.
3. Ride-Sharing Service – On-demand ride-sharing service for convenient transportation.
4. Public Bus – Local bus service with stops near the Hanging Valley Trail.
5. Bike Rental Shop – Rent bicycles for exploring the Hanging Valley Trail and surrounding areas.
6. Car Rental Agency – Rent a car for flexible transportation options.
7. Private Transportation Service – Book private transportation for a personalized experience.
8. Airport Shuttle – Shuttle service to and from the nearest airport.
9. Train Station – Accessible train station for regional transportation.
10. Walking – Explore the Hanging Valley Trail on foot for a more immersive experience.


The Hanging Valley Trail offers the following amenities:

1. Restrooms: There are restroom facilities available at the trailhead or nearby.

2. Parking: There is a designated parking area for visitors to park their vehicles.

3. Camping Sites: The trail may have designated camping sites or nearby camping areas where visitors can set up their tents and camp overnight.

4. Picnic Areas: There may be designated picnic areas along the trail where visitors can enjoy a meal or snack amidst the scenic surroundings.

5. Drinking Water: Some trails provide access to drinking water sources, such as water fountains or water pumps.

6. Trail Markers: The Hanging Valley Trail may have clear trail markers or signs to guide hikers along the path.

7. Information Boards: Information boards or signs may be available at the trailhead or along the trail, providing details about the trail, its history, and any safety precautions.

8. Benches or Seating: There may be benches or seating areas along the trail where visitors can rest and take in the views.

9. Trash Receptacles: To maintain cleanliness, there may be trash receptacles available along the trail for visitors to dispose of their waste.

10. Interpretive Displays: Some trails feature interpretive displays or educational signage that provide information about the local flora, fauna, geology, or history.

It’s important to note that the availability of these amenities may vary depending on the specific location and management of the Hanging Valley Trail. It is recommended to check with local authorities or trail management for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Nearby Services

1. Hanging Valley Lodge – A cozy lodge located near the trailhead, offering comfortable accommodation.
2. Mountain View Inn – A nearby inn with stunning views of the surrounding mountains, providing a pleasant stay.
3. Trailside Campground – A camping site located along the Hanging Valley Trail, perfect for outdoor enthusiasts.
4. Riverside Restaurant – A restaurant situated close to the trail, serving delicious meals with a scenic riverside view.
5. Valley Diner – A casual diner offering a variety of food options, conveniently located near the trail.
6. Hanging Valley Emergency Clinic – An emergency medical facility situated near the trail, providing immediate medical assistance if needed.

Hanging Valley Trail Difficulty Notes

The Hanging Valley Trail is known for its moderate difficulty level, making it suitable for hikers of various skill levels. The trail offers a challenging yet rewarding experience, with steep ascents and descents, rocky terrain, and occasional narrow sections. Hikers should be prepared for a moderate level of physical exertion and endurance, as well as the need for proper footwear and hiking gear. However, the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, lush forests, and cascading waterfalls make the effort well worth it. Overall, the Hanging Valley Trail provides a satisfying challenge for outdoor enthusiasts seeking a memorable hiking adventure.

Features And Attractions

The Hanging Valley Trail is known for its stunning scenery and natural landmarks. Here are some of the notable sights along the trail:

1. Hanging Lake: The main highlight of the trail, Hanging Lake is a crystal-clear turquoise lake suspended on the edge of a cliff. It is renowned for its unique geological formations and pristine beauty.

2. Spouting Rock: Located near Hanging Lake, Spouting Rock is a natural waterfall that emerges from the cliffside. The water cascades down the rocks, creating a mesmerizing spectacle.

3. Dead Horse Creek: As you hike along the trail, you will come across Dead Horse Creek, a picturesque stream that flows through the valley. The creek adds to the scenic beauty of the surroundings.

4. Bridal Veil Falls: A short detour from the main trail will take you to Bridal Veil Falls, a stunning waterfall that drops from a height of around 120 feet. The falls are named for their resemblance to a bride’s veil.

5. Hanging Valley Arch: This natural arch is located near the top of the trail and offers a unique vantage point to admire the surrounding landscape. The arch frames the view perfectly, making it a popular spot for photography.

6. Rocky Mountain views: Throughout the hike, you will be treated to breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains. The towering peaks, lush forests, and alpine meadows create a picturesque backdrop for your journey.

7. Historical sites: While the Hanging Valley Trail is primarily known for its natural beauty, there are also some historical sites in the area. These include remnants of old mining operations and the historic Glenwood Canyon Highway.

8. Wildlife sightings: The trail is home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, elk, mountain goats, and various bird species. Keep an eye out for these animals as you explore the trail.

These are just a few of the scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks that you can expect to encounter along the Hanging Valley Trail.

Usage Guidelines

1. Pets are allowed on the Hanging Valley Trail but must be kept on a leash at all times.
2. Hiking on the Hanging Valley Trail is permitted year-round, but certain sections may be closed during winter months due to hazardous conditions.
3. Camping or overnight stays are not allowed on the Hanging Valley Trail.
4. Littering is strictly prohibited. Please carry out all trash and dispose of it properly.
5. Fires are not allowed on the Hanging Valley Trail, except in designated fire pits or camping areas if available.
6. Bicycles and motorized vehicles are not permitted on the Hanging Valley Trail.
7. Hunting or fishing is not allowed on the trail.
8. Stay on designated trails and do not venture off into restricted or private areas.
9. Respect wildlife and do not disturb or feed any animals encountered on the trail.
10. Follow all posted signs and instructions from park rangers or trail officials.

Seasonal Information

The Hanging Valley Trail is a popular hiking destination located in the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. This stunning trail offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, lush valleys, and cascading waterfalls. The best times of the year to visit the Hanging Valley Trail are during the summer and early fall months, typically from June to October.

During the summer, the trail is at its peak beauty, with vibrant wildflowers in full bloom and the valleys covered in lush greenery. The weather is generally pleasant, with warm temperatures during the day and cool nights. This is the perfect time to explore the trail and take in the awe-inspiring scenery. The trail can get crowded during weekends and holidays, so it is advisable to plan your visit on weekdays for a more peaceful experience.

In the fall, the Hanging Valley Trail transforms into a kaleidoscope of colors as the leaves change to vibrant shades of red, orange, and gold. The crisp autumn air adds a magical touch to the hiking experience, making it a favorite time for many nature enthusiasts. However, it is important to note that the weather can be unpredictable during this season, with occasional snowfall and colder temperatures. It is recommended to check the weather forecast and be prepared with appropriate clothing and gear.

It is worth mentioning that the Hanging Valley Trail may have seasonal closures due to snowfall and adverse weather conditions. The trail is located at a higher elevation, and snow can linger well into the spring months. It is advisable to check with the Rocky Mountain National Park authorities or visitor center for the latest trail conditions and closures before planning your visit. Additionally, it is important to follow all safety guidelines and regulations while hiking, including carrying sufficient water, wearing sturdy footwear, and being aware of wildlife in the area.

Overall, the Hanging Valley Trail offers a remarkable hiking experience throughout the summer and early fall. Whether you visit during the peak summer months or witness the stunning fall foliage, this trail is sure to leave you in awe of the natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains.


1. Wheelchair Accessibility: The Hanging Valley Trail is not wheelchair accessible due to its steep and rugged terrain.
2. ADA Accommodations: The trail does not have specific ADA accommodations, such as accessible parking, ramps, or designated accessible restrooms.
3. Trail Surface: The trail surface is uneven and consists of natural materials like dirt, rocks, and tree roots, making it challenging for wheelchair users.
4. Trail Width: The trail is narrow in some sections, making it difficult for wheelchair users to navigate.
5. Steep Inclines: The trail includes steep inclines and declines, which can be challenging for individuals with mobility limitations.
6. Rest Areas: There are no designated accessible rest areas along the trail, limiting opportunities for wheelchair users to take breaks.
7. Trail Length: The Hanging Valley Trail is a moderate to strenuous hike, which may not be suitable for individuals with mobility impairments.
8. Trail Markings: The trail may lack clear and visible markings, making it harder for individuals with visual impairments to navigate.
9. Assistance Required: Due to the trail’s challenging nature, individuals with disabilities may require assistance from others to safely navigate the trail.
10. Alternative Accessible Trails: Visitors seeking wheelchair accessibility or ADA accommodations may consider exploring other accessible trails in the area that are specifically designed for individuals with disabilities.

Safety Information

1. Trail Difficulty: The Hanging Valley Trail is rated as a moderate to difficult hike, requiring a good level of fitness and hiking experience.
2. Weather Conditions: Be aware of changing weather conditions, as the trail can become slippery and dangerous during rain or snow.
3. Proper Footwear: Wear sturdy hiking boots with good traction to navigate the rocky and uneven terrain.
4. Trail Markings: Pay attention to trail markers and signs to avoid getting lost or straying off the designated path.
5. Wildlife Awareness: Be cautious of wildlife encounters, including bears and mountain lions, and follow proper safety protocols if encountered.
6. Carry Sufficient Water: Bring an ample supply of water to stay hydrated throughout the hike, as there are limited water sources along the trail.
7. Sun Protection: Apply sunscreen, wear a hat, and bring sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays, as the trail offers limited shade.
8. Emergency Preparedness: Carry a first aid kit, a map, a compass, and a whistle in case of emergencies or getting lost.
9. Hiking in Groups: It is recommended to hike with a partner or in a group for safety and assistance if needed.
10. Leave No Trace: Respect the environment by packing out all trash and minimizing your impact on the trail and surrounding nature.

Conservation Notes

The Hanging Valley Trail is a popular hiking trail located in the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. In terms of conservation status, the trail is considered to be in good condition and is actively managed to ensure its preservation. The trail is regularly monitored by park rangers and volunteers to assess any potential environmental impacts and to implement necessary measures for its protection.

Efforts have been made to minimize erosion and maintain the trail’s integrity by using sustainable construction techniques and materials. This includes the use of natural materials such as rocks and logs to create steps and prevent soil erosion. Additionally, designated areas for rest and camping have been established to prevent damage to sensitive vegetation and wildlife habitats.

The Hanging Valley Trail is also subject to seasonal closures to protect wildlife during critical periods, such as the breeding and nesting seasons. These closures help minimize disturbance to sensitive species and allow them to thrive undisturbed. Visitors are encouraged to adhere to these closures and respect the designated areas to ensure the long-term conservation of the trail and its surrounding ecosystem.

Overall, the conservation status of the Hanging Valley Trail is actively managed and monitored to ensure its sustainability and protection. The efforts put into maintaining the trail’s condition and minimizing environmental impacts contribute to the preservation of the natural beauty and ecological integrity of the Rocky Mountain National Park.

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