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    Handies Peak Hike

    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    8.5 km
    This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
    744 m
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    Directions to Trailhead
    Handies Peak Hike

    The Handies Peak Hike is a breathtaking adventure in the San Juan Mountains that will lead you up to the summit of a rugged fourteener. While out on the trail, you will climb uphill above the American Basin, before traversing the steep slopes of Handies Peak on the way to the summit for spectacular views. Hikers should take note that the road leading into the trailhead is quite rugged and will require a 4x4 high clearance vehicle to safely traverse.

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    Route Description for Handies Peak Hike

    Although it is one of the easier routes leading up a fourteener, the Handies Peak Hike is still a challenging adventure that should be treated with caution. Be sure to wear proper hiking books with good support to have the best footing along the trail. Additionally, the road leading to the trailhead is very rugged, so make sure that you only attempt it with a 4x4 high clearance vehicle.

    Even though it can be a bit of a pain to get there, once you find yourself on the trail and hiking up to the summit of Handies Peak, you will forget about the logistics and be able to focus on the stunning views. If you are dead set on summiting a fourteener in Colorado, the Handies Peak Hike is a great place to start due to the relatively easy nature of the trail compared to others in the state.

    Setting out from the parking area, you will make your way south along the road for 1.6 km, as it climbs uphill through the American Basin alongside the banks of Lake Fork. Take some time here to enjoy the sweeping views across the basin, as you gradually work your way to a fork in the trail.

    Taking the path on the left, you will traverse the rocky terrain near the shores of Sloan Lake, before beginning the steep ascent towards the summit of Handies Peak. Here, you will make your way through a series of switchbacks to the northeast to make your way up onto the ridge, at which point, it is only a short push up to the summit.

    After reaching the top of Handies Peak, you will be inundated with breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape, including Whitecross Mountain to the northeast, Cinnamon Mountain to the northwest, and the American Basin in between. Once you have taken in the views, simply head back down along the same trail to return to the trailhead below.

    Trail Highlights

    Handies Peak

    Situated in the San Juan sub-range of the Rocky Mountains, Handies Peak (4,283 m) is a rugged fourteener overlooking the American Basin. While it is a fairly high and prominent peak, the route leading up to the summit is short and non-technical, making it one of the easier fourteeners in Colorado to climb.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Is Handies Peak a fourteener?

    At 4,283 m Handies Peak is one of the easiest fourteeners to climb, as it is a short route to the summit that requires no scrambling.

    How long does it take to hike Handies Peak?

    It takes approximately 4 hours round trip to summit Handies Peak.

    Insider Hints for Handies Peak Hike

    • Wear proper hiking footwear to better traverse the trail.
    • You will need a 4x4 vehicle with high clearance in order to reach the trailhead.
    • Keep an eye out for cheeky marmots along the trail!

    Getting to the Handies Peak Hike Trailhead

    The starting point for the Handies Peak Hike can be found at the Handies Peak Southwest Slope Trailhead on County Road 12, 32.2 km northeast of Silverton.

    Route Information

    • Backcountry Campground


    • When to do


    • Pets allowed


    • Family friendly


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    • Route Type

      Out and back

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