Here’s how to actually enjoy Hanging Lake without all the crowds — The best kept secret by The Denver Post

Hanging Lake is one of Colorado’s most popular hiking trails in the summer. But the local secret is that it’s best done in the winter.

GLENWOOD CANYON — Long fangs of ice drape from the famous waterfall above Hanging Lake. Water plunges into the turquoise pond, creating a soothing sound, as patches of snow dapple the soaring cliffs that surround one of the most picturesque spots in Colorado.

Hanging Lake is a place so special that it was being loved to death until the U.S. Forest Service partnered with Glenwood Springs last year to control access and limit crowds from May to October — a policy that will be in place again this year — but there’s no need for crowd control in the winter. When we made the 1.2-mile climb of 1,000 vertical feet to the lake recently we saw maybe 30 people, only a dozen or so while we were at the lake itself.

On that hike, we uncovered Hanging Lake’s biggest secret: It is even more beautiful and intoxicating in the winter than in the summer. And it’s a lot less complicated — not to mention less crowded.

Hanging Lake, Glenwood Springs, hiking,

via Here’s how to actually enjoy Hanging Lake without all the crowds — The Denver Post

Frozen Waterfalls of Starved Rock

Loyalsock Trail: High Knob and Falls — Appalachian Outdoor Journal

I was a bit apprehensive and excited about a winter trip this year. The ice has not fully left my bones. But it’s difficult to keep me away. It’s been three years since I spent multiple nights out in sub-freezing temperatures while hiking a trail section. And last time, it was -10 (F) for two […]

via Loyalsock Trail: High Knob and Falls — Appalachian Outdoor Journal

Winter at Starved Rock

600 million years ago Northern Illinois was part of a broad upland that was undergoing extensive erosion. The erosion wore
the land down to near sea level. Erosion that forms a near sea
level surface is called a peneplain. This peneplain was submerged several times by sea water and several layers of sediment were laid on the surface.
Starved Rock State Park was once covered with 3000-5000
feet of glacial ice on and off over a course of 700,000 years.
Glacial ice can move forwards never backwards. When a glacier is said to be retreating, it is actually melting faster than it is
moving forward. As glacial ice can only move forward, it picks
up rocks and carries them in the ice. When the ice melts, these
rock particles are dropped at the point of melting. All dropped
rock material is called drift. Drift found at the point of melting is
called till. Till is unsorted glacial drift. When the glacier is stagnant, the drift accumulates into a pile called an end moraine.
After the glacier has retreated, it leaves a range of irregular hills
which are the end moraine. The melt waters of the glacier were
so great that they would accumulate behind the moraines and
form vast lakes. The streams that drain these lakes were gigantic compared to today’s streams. The Illinois Valley was
formed by one of these streams.
15,000 years ago during the Wisconsinan Glacial Age, the glacial meltwater of a large lake overtopped the Marseilles Moraine and formed Lake Ottawa behind the Farm Ridge Moraine
that ran north to south along what we call Starved Rock State
Park today. This lake drained when it overtopped the Farm
Ridge Moraine cutting a channel that became the Illinois River.
Repeated meltwater floods of the Kankakee Torrent poured
through the channels cut through the Marseilles and Farm
Ridge Moraines establishing the drainage for the Illinois, Fox,
and Vermillion Rivers. This repeated drainage also cut the outcrops , overlooks, and 18 canyons that you see today.

How to enjoy winter in the Midwest


It might be frigid, but don’t let a snowy forecast stop you from setting aside time for a enjoying the great outdoors.  Head to the woods for a peaceful hike, snow shoeing or cross country skiing.  Here are some fun spots to explore.


Turkey Run State Park, Indiana

For picturesque views!


You’ll marvel at the natural geologic wonders of this beautiful park as you hike along its famous trails. Nestled along State Road 47 southwest of Crawfordsville, the park offers the chance to explore deep, sandstone ravines, walk along stands of aged forests, and enjoy the scenic views along Sugar Creek.

Chicago, Illinois

Skating with the Chicago skyline as your backdrop!

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With its twinkling tree lights and stunning skyline backdrop, the iconic ice skating rink in Millennium Park is a must-stop each winter season.

More than 100,000 ice skaters glide, spin, twirl — and undoubtedly, stumble and fall! — on the downtown ice rink each year. Take to the ice yourself or just soak in the views. Right above the rink is Millennium Park’s famed Cloud Gate sculpture. Snap photos of your reflection in the shiny, snow-dusted “Bean” and watch the crowds below during your winter holiday visit. If you’re in need of a warm-up, head into the Park Grill Cafe on-site for hot chocolate and other snacks.


Door County, Wisconsin

Sightseeing along frozen Lake Michigan

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Many people call Door County the Cape Cod of the Midwest, and that’s no less true in winter, when snow covers the picturesque northeast Wisconsin peninsula. Shops, galleries and inns stay open for visitors who come for cozy shopping and peaceful walks along frozen Lake Michigan beaches. Sleigh rides, trolley tours and wine tastings round out a romantic weekend.


Interstate State Park, Wisconsin and Minnesota

Hardy hikers can snowshoe on fresh white snow



Interstate Park comprises two adjacent state parks on the Minnesota-Wisconsin border, both names Interstate State Park.  The staddle the Dalles of the beautiful St. Croix River, a deep basalt gorge with glacial potholes and other rock formations.


Southwest Lake Michigan shore

A stunning winter lighthouse road trip landscape!


Every winter, lake-effect storms leave southwest Michigan’s lighthouses and sand dunes cloaked in ice and snow.  From South Haven to New Buffalo and beyond winter is the perfect time to  take a road trip  along Lake Michigan, especially since the beautiful scenes of winter are in full force now.