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Handies Peak 14,058’ One of the easier 14ners, Handies Peak is a great climb that might be good for people to attempt their first summit of one of these high mountains. It's beautiful, easy to find and if you have a 4x4 vehicle, fairly easy to get to. Although we say the climb to the summit is easy (Class 1) please be aware that this is relative to Mountain Climbing and that the hike itself is strenuous based on elevation gain, mileage and high altitude.  The nice thing is that the trail to the summit is not technical and is just a straight forward hike to the top. Information on the climb: Starting from the American Basin Trailhead the hike to the summit is 2.9 miles (one way) 5.8 miles round trip. Beginning elevation at the American Basin Trailhead is 11,600' with an ending elevation at the summit of 14,058' which gives you an elevation gain of about 2458'.  Handies is the 41st highest peak in Colorado and is part of the San Juan Mountain Range.  The closest cities are Silverton, Colorado and Lake City, Colorado.  Primitive camping is available near the trailhead, along Cinnamon pass and also in campgrounds near Lake City.  How to get to the Handies Peak Trailhead?  We will be explaining the primary trailhead which is at American Basin on Cinnamon Pass between Silverton and Lake City Colorado. One of the easiest ways to find the trailhead is to utilize the Cinnamon Pass 4x4 map which will give you directions from either side. Basically the turn to go up American basin is about five Miles from Animas Forks (Silverton side) and about 22 miles from Lake City on the Cinnamon Pass 4x4 road. You will need a 4x4 vehicle to reach the trailhead especially on the last ¼ mile leading to the parking area. Parking is available near the trailhead in American Basin. If you have your own GPS device you can download our GPX file and utilize it as a guide as well. When to climb? Most people like to summit when the peak is fairly clear of snow which gives you a window of opportunity from early July through September but if conditions are right you might squeak in late June or mid October. This can also depend on when the pass is open in the spring which is usually by Memorial Day. Late spring is also a good time for back country enthusiasts to get in some extreme skiing! You should plan on getting an early start for your climb so as to avoid afternoon storms that can blow in very quickly and if lighting occurs it is advisable to descend to safety immediately. "What a fun climb!" This is a 14ner that has a lot to offer people that are interested in attempting their first summit of a high Colorado mountain. The trail is easy to follow and the distance is not as far as many of the others in the area. It is fairly steep and you should be in adequate shape before you begin this kind of activity because the altitude can make a huge difference on your endurance. At 1.5 miles up you will see Sloan Lake which is a very popular destination for people that just want to go part way and catch some spectacular scenery. Sloan Lake sits in a bowl (basin) just below American Peak and there are usually wildflowers blooming by midsummer all around the area. You can also watch people climbing up to the top of the peak from this vantage point which is very cool. Speaking of cool, you should be prepared for cool (or cold) weather and bring warmer clothes (layers) and rain gear just in case.  From Sloan Lake the trail crosses some scree fields and switchbacks before reaching the saddle below the summit. The final push follows a nice ridgeline that is fairly steep but nice and wide and does not have much of a false summit. The views you get from the top of a 14ner are un-describable. It's kind of cliché but saying "I'm on top of the world" is very fitting from this kind of vantage and after challenging yourself to make it, quite okay. You can literally see for miles and miles to the horizon across layer after layer of majestic Colorado San Juan Mountains. The descent is a bit quicker than the climb and Sloan Lake makes an awesome place to kick back and have a snack before heading down the rest of the way. Handies Peak sits fairly close to two other fourteen thousand foot mountains Sunshine Peak 14,001' and Redcloud Peak 14,034' and it is popular to climb all three over a two or three day time period. Most people will summit Sunshine Peak traverse to Redcloud Peak and then drive over to American Basin the next day to climb Handies Peak. There is a sense of accomplishment when you climb to the top of a 14 thousand foot mountain, not to mention the bragging rights. People may ask, "Why did you climb the mountain?" You can tell them, "Because it was Handy!" It's a great climb!
logotype Photographer:  James Hobby  		Handies Peak 14,058 feet logotype Photographer:  James Hobby  	  American Basin logotype Photographer:  Kelly May  		View from Top of Handies Peak Disclaimer: DuranGo Outdoors, its owners, employees and or affiliates disclaim any and all liabilities for any and all information provided within the website including but not limited to accuracy or content. Activities like mountain climbing, hiking and backpacking can be inherently hazardous and could result in injury, property damage or even death. It is impossible to predict every hazard when attempting any of these kinds of activities and if you attempt to engage in any of the activities you assume ALL responsibilities. It is up to you to know your limits, be prepared and use good judgment.  !