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Access to Handies Pk. TH via Silverton or Ouray

Trailhead conditions, directions, roads, parking, camping, etc. Trailhead Info/Status
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Re: Access to Handies Pk. TH via Silverton or Ouray

Postby Tortoise1 » Tue Aug 20, 2013 8:43 pm

I don't remember the markings but I agree it's certainly not well marked. I just clocked it on Google map as 10.6 miles after you cross 18th Street in Silverton. The thing to remember is that the Animas River is on the right side of the road, you cross it, and it's on the left side of the road, and the trailhead is on the right about 150 yards past the crossing of the river. I believe it goes up Grouse Gulch.

It's actually more than 800 feet of additional elevation gain because you have to go up to 13,000 and then back down to 12,400 to catch the other trail. But it's still not really an epic 14er. American Basin is only 2,500 feet up.

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Re: Access to Handies Pk. TH via Silverton or Ouray

Postby mtflatrock » Tue Aug 20, 2013 9:02 pm

Thank you Tortoise1. It sounds a bit too complicated and not worth the trouble. I've climbed a lot of mtns. but never have done a Colorado 14er so I have been looking at all possibilities. I wanted to start with a relatively easy 1 or 2, and initially considered Grays/Torreys, Bierstadt or Quandry. I just saw the photos of the basin below Handies and it looked cool. The scenery/experience are more important to me than the summit. Any suggestions regarding these others in so far as scenery is concerned? I appreciate your help. Maybe I'll try Handies another time from the East (regular) side.

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Re: Access to Handies Pk. TH via Silverton or Ouray

Postby cougar » Tue Aug 20, 2013 9:24 pm

another bit of info is this trailhead is just below the 4WD only sign on the road up to Cinnamon Pass. You can see this sign from the trailhead. Be sure to head east out of north end of Silverton - I believe 110 is actually CR 2 for a bit. The roads fork at the hill to the north of town, so turn right there.

As far as the difficulty, it's about 4,000 ft elevation gain round trip, but all gentle terrain and a trail all the way (a bit faint in spots but this is across grassy tundra). The route from Grouse Gulch ascends to a 13,000 ft pass, then drops into American Basin to meet the standard route at 12,400. So there's a 600 ft elevation loss to climb out of after, get back to 13,000 ft, but I didn't find it that bad. The views are spectacular.

Ice Lake Basin in that area is spectacular scenery if you don't have to get a summit.

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Re: Access to Handies Pk. TH via Silverton or Ouray

Postby Tortoise1 » Wed Aug 21, 2013 8:45 am

Lake City is just the better side for easier 14ers, just hard to get to from the west. Sneffels is out of Ouray but a bit more difficult. There's lots of good hiking on the 550 side though. Both Silverton and Ouray have good visitors centers with lots of hiking information. Ouray is also a good place to rent a Jeep and go over to Lake City if you wanted to try that. It's about $150 a day for roughly 5 pm to 5 pm - so you could drive over to Lake City in the evening, hike early and still get the Jeep back on time. I personally think the San Juans are prettier than Grays/Bierstadt/Quandry, etc.

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Re: Access to Handies Pk. TH via Silverton or Ouray

Postby GeorgiaTyler » Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:19 am

Here is the obvious river crossing (animas), if you want to do this in solitude take this route. About 100 yards after this (once again obvious) crossing there is an easier crossing. No signs for Burns gulch but it is across from the signed Picayne gulch. Go for it!!
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Re: Access to Handies Pk. TH via Silverton or Ouray

Postby TallGrass » Fri Aug 23, 2013 3:01 pm

cougar wrote: I believe 110 is actually CR 2 for a bit.
Nope. 110 out of Silverton goes to Gladstone (straight), and 2 goes to Animas Forks via Eureka (right).
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Not sure if I'll do more 14ers. The trip reports are too tiring. :wink:

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Re: Access to Handies Pk. TH via Silverton or Ouray

Postby mtflatrock » Fri Aug 23, 2013 5:04 pm

You've all been really helpful with this info and pics especially. Thanks a lot.

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