Hanging Lake is a unique example within the Southern Rocky Mountains biophysiographic province of a lake formed by travertine deposition. It is one of the larger and least altered travertine systems in the area, where natural geologic and hydrologic processes continue to operate as they have done throughout the history of the lake. The site also supports one of the best and largest examples of a hanging garden plant community.
Located on a fault line, Hanging Lake's valley floor fell out and created Hanging Lake. The Lake is a very fragile ecosystem due to the travertine composition. Travertine is a form of limestone deposited by mineral springs. Limestone is sensitive to external factors and extremely susceptible to transformation due to it's calcium carbonate concentration. Getting in the water could damage this fragile system!
What does this mean?
Hanging Lake is fragile and in need of our care. When you visit please obey all posted regulations to help us keep this place special forever. We need your help.
The story begins with a gold hunting prospector who came to Colorado in hope of striking it rich. Stumbling upon a dead horse at the base of what is now known as Dead Horse Canyon, he wandered along Dead Horse Creek eventually leading him to discover what is now known as Hanging Lake
Soon after the discovery, young man Thomas F. Bailey, built a homestead which attracted many travelers looking for both adventure and a place to rest during their travels.