Handies Peak

EASY 47 reviews

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.

5.3 miles
2,440 feet
Out & Back

dog friendly

kid friendly




horseback riding

nature trips







wild flowers


7 days ago

was a great hike! beautiful!

27 days ago

Great first 14er! Rolling hills and beautiful views!

29 days ago

Excellent hike. Well marked trail. Beautiful wildflowers. Long hike. Last mile short, steep, slippery switchbacks. Amazing view at the top!

1 month ago

Hiked June 15. A few small patches of snow that will not ruin your day, a million fat, hilarious marmots that will absolutely make your day, and a sketchy drive up Cinnamon Pass that'll give you a right good jostling. We parked about 1/2 mile away from the trailhead in our CR-V.

If you're concerned about smoke from the 416 fire, I have asthma and while we could smell the smoke in the morning (6am), it didn't bother me enough to notice.

I wouldn't call this easy (I'd put Bierstadt and Quandary above this in terms of difficulty though), but it's got a little bit of everything. American Basin is truly stunning. If you do this one, you won't regret it.

1 month ago


1 month ago

Hiked Handies late March and left around 9:30. Still quite a bit of snow on the trails, so we lost the trail a few times, but it was easy get back on track. I hiked in trail running shoes and they got wet from mud and melted snow, but worked perfectly otherwise. Beautiful views. Good for beginners who have done some preparation for the altitude/incline.

4 months ago

This was my first 14er and was perfect for that, as there is less elevation gain than most and the trail is gentle. It was far more impressive scenery-wise than I expected. I've hiked 6 other 14ers since and while some others offered more interesting scrambling, wilder exposure, and so on, none quite matched the visual beauty of this hike. I did it in the late afternoon after a big morning thunderstorm, which is unusual, so I got the beautiful late light, which contributed to my experience greatly.

Lots of friendly marmots!

Don't hesitate to give this a go!

11 months ago

Love this hike!!! Do it, you will not regret it!!!

11 months ago

Awesome hike my first 14er! Wildflowers blooming all over so gorgeous!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Wow! The most beautiful 14er we've done. Wild flowers in full bloom. Mountain steams, waterfalls, and amazing views from the saddle to the summit. A must.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Monday, April 17, 2017

first 14er in the san juans, it's far away from civilization, and the American basin during labor day weekend is so full of color.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

My son and I tried for Handies in Oct. of 2013. We got to American Basin and started in on the hike. There was snow right off the bat but it wasn't enough to keep us from going. We got just below Sloan Lake and decided to take a short break. While sitting there, my son became ill due to the elevation so we turned around right away and went back down. I believe we would have made the top if it weren't for that. I would try this again some time as it is an easy 14'r for the most part. I will say, the road over Cinnamon Pass and down to American basin is as ugly as it's always been. There are some really nasty sections along that. Once again, my Expedition handled it all, but I had doubts a few times about clearance. 4 x 4 for sure here

Friday, March 17, 2017

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.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

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.

Friday, February 24, 2017

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.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

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.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

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.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

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.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

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.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

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.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

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.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Very easy hike, most amazing wild flowers!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Easy & beautiful

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Great hike. Made it to American basin in a Kia shortage with no problem. 3.5 hrs round trip.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Beautiful views up American Basin, especially if you go when the flowers are in bloom. Not difficult. Good 14er for beginners.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

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 :)

Sunday, June 29, 2014

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/

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

This relatively easy 14er in the Lake City area has spectacular views of the rest of the San Juans. There are many excellent ski lines on the East Face. It was hard to choose which one to take!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Handies Peak is one of the easier 14ners. It has a very steep trail once you are near the summit, otherwise seems to be a moderate climb. The scenery at the summit is AWESOME!!!

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