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Handies Peak

 Southwest Slopes
Difficulty Class 1 
Ski/Board: Intermediate, D4 / R3 / II  
Risk FactorsExposure: Moderate
Rockfall Potential: Low  
Route-Finding: Low  
Commitment: Low  
 
Start11,600 feet
Summit14,058 feet
Total Gain2,500 feet
2,800 feet starting at the bottom of the American Basin road
RT Length5.75 miles
7.75 miles starting at the bottom of the American Basin road
AuthorBillMiddlebrook
Last UpdatedJul 2024
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Photo

Trailhead

From Lake City, drive about 2 miles south on Colorado 149 and turn right on County Road 30, toward Cinnamon Pass. From the start of the 30 road, it's over 20 miles to the trailhead. Stay right near 11.8 miles. After 12.5 miles the road becomes more rough, and between 13 and 14.5 miles it's a shelf road that hugs the south side of Sunshine Peak. Pass the Grizzly Gulch trailhead before 16 miles. Shortly after, the road gets more difficult and requires 4WD/AWD. Continue to a signed junction, at approx. 20 miles and turn left for American Basin. From here, it's 0.9 mile to the trailhead. After 0.2 mile, cross a stream. The remaining road becomes narrow and more difficult but there are some parking spots in this area. Continue higher to reach the trailhead at the end of the road.

Due to inaccuracies, do not use Google/Apple Maps directions to reach American Basin because it may suggest driving over Cinnamon Pass.

Route

If you parked below the trailhead, walk up the remaining 4WD road to reach the main trailhead. Follow the trail as it ascends south into American Basin - 1, 2 and 3. Near 12,400', turn left and ascend a slope in the center of the basin - 4 and 5. At 12,700', the terrain eases, and the upper basin appears. Continue east - 6 and 7. The summit is up to your left but instead of heading directly toward the summit, stay on the trail as it turns right (south) and climbs toward Sloan Lake - 8 and 9. Ascend 300 feet to reach a trail junction , just north of the lake - 10 and 11.

Turn left and continue east onto more rugged terrain - 12. Next, you'll traverse a talus slope to reach easier terrain on Handies' southwest slope. Partway across this traverse, descend slightly ( 13) on the most difficult portion of this trail. Above 13,000', hike away from the talus and switchback up the southwest slope - 15 and 16. At 13,500', gain the saddle between Handies and unnamed point 13,588' - 17. Turn left and follow the trail up the ridge ( 18 and 19) to reach this beautiful summit - 20 and 21.

Notes

None
#1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 #10 #11 #12 #13 #14 #15 #16 #17 #18 #19 #20 #21

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