Hike-in Required
Open Year-round
ADA accessible
Guided tours
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

If you're looking for a short hike with big views and a low barrier to entry, look no further than the Hanging Garden Trail in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. A rock-lined path crosses sandstone bedrock to an unusual sight in the desert: a fern garden. This lush patch of greenery is found where a natural spring seeps down a vertical rock wall. Water from winter run-off keeps the garden lush all year. A half-mile hike takes visitors to this small alcove of greenery.

Along the way there are sweeping views of the stark landscape near Glen Canyon Dam. From the trail, notice the colorful bands of rock in the distance. At your feet you'll see swirls and patterns in the sandstone as well as patches of rock that has eroded into sand. A few plants eke out a living on this desolate landscape. Varieties of sage and cactus abound, and in early spring you may catch them in bloom.

If you'd like a little more adventure while you're out on the trail, look for a fork in the path that leads west and up to the summit of a small hill just off the official trail. Watch for lizards scurrying across the bare ground. From the hilltop there is a great view of the bridge spanning the Colorado River. 

After your hike be sure to stop by the Carl Hayden Visitor Center at the dam to inquire about other opportunities to hike and explore the surrounding area. While there are several trailheads and parking lots in the area, there are few developed trails that go much beyond a mile. Pick up a map and learn about route descriptions before you head out exploring.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass



Short and easily accessible.


Can be very hot.

Pets allowed

Allowed with Restrictions


Geologically significant
Near lake or river
Big vistas
Family friendly


Nearby Adventures


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