Handies Peak is a 5.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Lake City, Colorado that features a river. The trail is good for all skill levels offers a number of activity options. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.
We did this hike in July of 2015. It was our first 14er. We had no problem getting to the American Basin in our jeep. The wildflowers were beautiful and Sloan lake was spectacular. It was a little difficult near the summit for us since we weren't use to higher elevations but was well worth the extra effort when we reached the summit.
Absolutely stunning scenery once you get above tree line. We hiked up Grizzly Gulch and it was definitely harder than I had planned, but having a dog who was sick all night didn't help. The views were spectacular and the ptarmigans were in abundance. Hiked in September, it was quite chilly in morning and there was a bit of snow on the trail. We will definitely do this earlier in the year and leave the dog at home.
Gorgeous summer hike! It's one of the easiest fourteeners as the trail begins slightly above tree line and is very smooth passing through less than 1/4 mile of scree field along the beautiful route. Anything higher than a typical car should make it. We did it in a Crosstrek and didn't scrape once. To continue past the trailhead turnoff and over the pass to Silverton you'll definitely need a HC vehicle with low gearing.
Hike was great, make sure you stay on the correct path in order to have the easiest ascent. There was still snow on the ground when we hiked it and we accidently hung right and had to scramble along the back side of the saddle in order to get to the peak. Other than that the hike is pretty accomplishable.
Handies Peak Loop (~14 miles)
Ascent: Handies Peak - East Slopes from the Grizzly Gulch/Silver Creek TH. Relatively easy hike up to this 14er with gorgeous views of Handies once you're above treeline. I chose this was to ascend because the shelf road on Cinnamon Pass already felt too sketch for me and I didn't want to keep going to the American Basin TH since I didn't have a 4x4 with high clearance.
Descent: Handies Peak - Southwest Slopes from the American Basin TH. I didn't want to descend down the class 2 route and decided to make it a loop trail by descending down the class 1 standard route. Pretty pretty hike.
I could have hitchhiked back to Grizzly Gulch but decided that to hike the road instead. If I had to choose one route, I would recommend going up the Grizzly Gulch side since it was prettier and more secluded. I even saw a moose at one point! As with all 14ers, start early.
We hiked to the top of Handies via Grizzly Gulch last month. Got a late start, but the weather allowed us to summit without fear of lightning or rain. This was our first major hike since May of this year, so we were a little out-of-shape. The trail is well-defined and steepened as we neared the top. Our Australian Cattle Dogs had a great time exchanging barks with the local Marmots along the way, and we all made it to the top in one piece.
Handies is a very scenic hike, starts in the American basin, ( which is amazing when the wild flowers are in bloom) and inclines to 14,443 ft above sea level. At the top is a 360 degree view of the surrounding area.
A fairly busy 14er that I wouldn't classify as Easy. As a 14er, it's a good, basic peak but as a general hike it has some challenging sections (specifically, the Western route) that I would rate as Moderate.
This was my first 14er & it worked out perfect. The hike itself is a gradual incline with a steep stretch just before the summit. We brought dogs and they did well. In August there were several mountain streams for them to drink from.
The wildflower are beautiful and there is a gorgeous lake about halfway up.
The most difficult part about this was making it to the trail head. A 4x4 with good clearance is a must.
Very easy hike, most amazing wild flowers!
Easy & beautiful
Great hike. Made it to American basin in a Kia shortage with no problem. 3.5 hrs round trip.
Beautiful views up American Basin, especially if you go when the flowers are in bloom. Not difficult. Good 14er for beginners.
We just did this 14er 4th of July weekend and it was amazing!! My Husband and I camped at the grizzly gulch trailhead and started the 14er that way. The grizzly gulch trail is more difficult (class 2 14er) but the views and the scenery are just spectacular. There is definitely a good scramble at the top to get to the summit. We also decided to go down the American Basin side and take dirt road back to our camp site, which made it about 13 miles in total. This was one of the prettiest campsites/hikes/14er's I have every been on. Definitely worth the drive out there :)
Spectacular 14er and definitely one of the easier ones. It also has one of the highest lakes in the country (11th) - Sloan Lake @12,920ft. One thing to note though is you will need a high clearance car to make it to upper most trailhead at American Basin. For more photos of Handies Peak, visit http://www.ohnophoto.com/handies-peak/