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Handies Peak

HARD 128 reviews
#1 of 5 trails in

Handies Peak is a 5.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Silverton, Colorado that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 5.3 miles Elevation Gain: 2,440 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

skiing

snowshoeing

bird watching

running

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

Note: The road to the trailhead has been reopened as of Friday, August 9th.

hiking
2 months ago

Oct 11. Dry trail conditions Amazing views above tree line all the way! Windy and cold close to peak. Very steep near the top. I live at 8k and frequently hike steep trails, but the altitude on this trail from American Basin slowed me down. I’d like to come back when wildflowers are in bloom.

hiking
2 months ago

This trek will not disappoint. My first 14er, and it was a fun experience. Be prepared for frigid and windy conditions as you approach the ridge line.

hiking
2 months ago

My favorite 14er so far! It was a beautiful day yesterday and I had such a great hike. The trail is well defined and a stop at Lake Sloan is a must. We came in from Lake City and the road is still rough in some spots, but manageable.

hiking
no shade
3 months ago

Beautiful the entire way, with wildflowers in bloom in the valley, gorgeous views of the streams,lake, waterfall, layers of mountains. My first 14er, I wouldn’t consider it “easy”, especially the last steep rocky incline. But totally worth it. Plenty of dogs on the trail too. Parked about 0.5 mi from the trailhead. Very bumpy road up requiring a 4x4 vehicle out from Silverton. We camped at animas forks about 45 min away, free and lots of great spots.

hiking
3 months ago

Absolutely gorgeous views the entire hike. September 1 and the wildflowers are still in full bloom. It’s definitely “easy” for a 14er, but I’ve I hiked a couple that are easier.

hiking
3 months ago

This is the “easiest” and most beautiful 14’et I’ve done. The wildflowers were beautiful! There’s a stream that flows along until you get up high. You also get to see a beautiful waterfall not too far from the trailhead. The lake a pretty bonus! Views from the top were spectacular! This is a must-do!

hiking
3 months ago

This is a beautiful trail, hiked 8/27. Weather was perfect, clear sky’s. Got on trail ~ 730 and made it to summit around 10. The last bit is steep. We came in via Silverton and Cinammon pass. Everything was open but definitely need 4wd and some decent clearance. The alpine lake is worth taking a little break at! Wildflowers are still everywhere!

hiking
3 months ago

Hiked this on 8/25/19. One of the most beautiful 14ers I’ve done. The wildflowers are incredible even this late in the summer. Trail is easy to follow. We camped at the trailhead and did Sunshine and Red Cloud the next day - it worked out perfectly. Trailhead has 2 bathrooms and wasn’t very crowded. Highly recommend!

hiking
rocky
3 months ago

8/23/19 The trail itself is absolutely beautiful! Very easy to follow, amazing wildflowers, waterfalls, and the alpine lake is gorgeous for those who don’t want to summit. There is only one patch of snow left on the trail, very easy to cross. The last 0.1-0.2 miles are very steep and very loose gravel, hard to gain traction and is the hardest part of the hike. The views from every point are breathtaking, especially at sunrise. We started at 5am and were able to summit and start down the trail before we saw any other people. The drive up definitely requires 4WD and high clearance. We came from Silverton over Cinnamon Pass using 4WD, and all roads were open and clear with no snow on the road. We made it up to the upper trailhead in a Jeep Renegade, the only others there were Jeeps and a 4Runner. If you can’t make it to the upper (as it requires a creek crossing and many rocks) you can park at the lower right before the creek and it adds 0.9 miles both ways.

hiking
3 months ago

8/20/19: my first time and it is now one of my favorite hikes! We came from Silverton and took Cinnamon Pass to the trailhead at American Basin, so you'll need high clearance 4WD unless there's another way to get there. We started hiking at 5:30 am and reached the summit around 7:50 a.m. Definitely reccomend starting early since we had the summit and trail to ourselves until we headed down. The view was incredible! There are also amazing wildflowers along the way at the beginning of the trail. Since we started in the dark, we didn't know they were there until our way back!

hiking
3 months ago

Absolutely stunning trail! The flowers were blooming and we were the only ones on the trail for a while, so it was nice to have the mountain to ourselves! Warning: if using Google Maps to get to the trailhead, beware if it tells you to take Co Rd 20. It does not get to the trailhead! Take Co Rd 30 to Co Rd 12 instead!

hiking
muddy
no shade
snow
4 months ago

What a beautiful hike! We started the American Basin trail without planning to climb Handies. Once we got to Sloan Lake though, the weather was perfect and we decided to keep going. Lots of snow on the trail which gets softer as the day goes on. Most snow drifts aren’t bad (we didn’t have spikes) but do take a little extra time. The trail is beautiful and not too steep leading up to the saddle... the last 500 feet or so are pretty steep. All class 1 though. Beautiful views, tons of wildflowers and marmots everywhere. The 4wd parking area is still closed. We parked before the stream and hitched a ride over the stream with ATVers haha. Took CO 30 in from Lake City... took about 1.5 hours to go 20 miles in a Subaru.

hiking
rocky
snow
4 months ago

You can only get to about half a mile from the trailhead due to snow. As the previous review mentions, there is still a lot of snow and can be difficult to find the trail at times. Microspikes were definitely helpful but you don't necessarily need them. Just take your time and be careful with the melting snow. Absolutely stunning views!

hiking
4 months ago

My brother in law and I did Handies from American basin on 7-20-19. You can drive all the way to the lower trailhead. You cannot get all the way to the 4wd trailhead due to snow. There is considerable snow in the trail and route finding is necessary. It isn’t worth taking snowshoes but plan on an extra hour and wear waterproof boots. Absolutely beautiful up top.

hiking
4 months ago

Last year I went up grizzly gulch and down American basin. I’d definitely recommend this route as you get to hike up both sides of the mountain. A little scrambling on the top of the grizzly gulch side. This route makes it tricky to get back to your car but passerbys are usually helpful in driving you back to your vehicle.

hiking
5 months ago

Hiked solo on 09/12/18. Jeeped to the trailhead in American Basin. Perfect weather with a deep blue sky, the kind I've only ever seen before from airplane windows. Good trailbed with firm footing. Switchbacks were well-designed and much appreciated. Little chance of getting lost on this trail. There is a beautiful saddle at which to carb-load and hydrate before the final steep push to the summit. Sustained 30-40 mph winds at summit. Solid 14er with minimal edge exposure. The lake views and rocky crags to the south offer a reward on the downhill return.

hiking
blowdown
closed
5 months ago

The road out to America Basin is covered with 15 feet of avalanche snow 5.5 miles away from the trailhead. i.e. CLOSED It would be doable to hike over the snow and camp or just make the hike 18 miles instead of 6. A few locals said BLM does not have plans to clear the snow this year. Maybe it will be melted by August? I think there is a way to approach the trailhead by car from the trailhead to Sunshine as well

hiking
8 months ago

Hiked July 2018. Our second 14er. If hiking in the summer make sure to start early as the weather can change quickly. Nice steady climb with a beautiful Alpine lake just off the trail. No false summit to trick you.

hiking
Mon Oct 22 2018

My first fourtenner and a good one for first timers and beginners. Awesome view and easy incline!

hiking
Tue Sep 18 2018

Absolutely worth the trip. The drive in from Cinnamon Pass was sketchy like a lot of people have said previously. I’m an inexperienced off roader driving a Jeep Patriot and I made it down but it was shaky. If you are about the views getting to Handie’s then definitely go through Ouray and Cinnamon Pass, if not and you want an easier drive in, take Co 30 in. The hike itself was a pretty steady gain. I did this as my first solo 14er and absolutely don’t regret it. But never underestimate a 14er, even the ones considered easier. Make sure to start earlier, 7/8 at the latest, so you can get down before afternoon storms start up.

hiking
Thu Sep 13 2018

Hiked this yesterday. Even though this is rated as the easiest 14er, it was still a relatively challenging hike. For being a class 1, I was surprised at the amount of loose rock at the top. Trekking poles would have been a good idea. No wildflowers along the trail anymore but also no snow yet. Views at the summit were beautiful, obviously.

Wed Aug 08 2018

Did this yesterday. Excellent hike. A relatively easy 14er, but a moderate hike. Past peak wildflowers.

hiking
Wed Aug 01 2018

Easy hike, beautiful views. Tons of wildflowers. The lake was really pretty and a welcome sight for the pups. If you have 4wd, follow the road up to the highest parking lot.

hiking
Tue Jul 31 2018

Beautiful hike! Made it to the upper parking lot in my Ford Escape but it was definitely a little sketchy at times. I would recommend driving a car that has a little more clearance than mine. I would rate this hike as an easy to moderate hike. One of the most scenic hikes I've ever done and the dogs handled it really well!

Sat Jul 21 2018

Well marked and the scenery is beautiful!

Fri Jul 13 2018

was a great hike! beautiful!

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