Ever wonder what Hanging Lake looked like in the 1800s? Check out these photos!

Hanging Lake is one of the most popular, and stunning, hikes you can take in Colorado. 

In fact, we've written several stories about how the popularity of the trail is causing some serious ecological problems. 

RELATED: Hikers could be loving Hanging Lake to death

The area we know today as Hanging Lake, located off of I-70 in Glenwood Canyon, was originally discovered and homesteaded by Thomas F. Bailey around the turn of the 19th century. 

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1886-1901. View of a mountain lake bordered by trees, possibly Hanging Lake near Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

About ten years later, the city of Glenwood Springs purchased 760 acres of federal land,  including Hanging Lake and its trail for $953 in 1912. Bailey had attempted to purchase it himself, but was unable to. 

1886-1901. View of a lake bordered by trees, possible Hanging Lake near Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

Trail infrastructure was updated in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

1920-1935. View of Hanging Lake, Garfield County, Colorado; shows water surrounded by rocky cliffs, evergreens, and grassy beach.

Soon, Hanging Lake would become a premiere destination for hikers, travelers and tourists. 

1922-1935. Men and women pose under (possibly) Hanging Lake Falls, in Eagle County, Colorado. Ferns are behind them; water is in the foreground.

The U.S. Forest Service began protecting and caring for the land in 1972. 

1940-1949. View of Hanging Lake, Garfield County, Colorado; shows water surrounded by rocky cliffs, evergreens, and grassy beach.
1940-1949. View of Hanging Lake, Garfield County, Colorado; shows water surrounded by rocky cliffs, evergreens. and grassy beach.
Photos courtesy Denver Public Library Western History Collection