Handies Peak

Handies Peak is a relatively easy peak, about a 6 mile round trip and a verticle rise of 2,750 feet, to hike in Colorado's San Juan Mountains. The two most popular approaches are from the east via Grizzly Gulch, and from the west via American Basin. The views from the summit are spectacular - the huge expanse of the San Juans lies in every direction.

The view from the summit is one of the most spectacular in Colorado. The climber is surrounded by the beautiful, rugged San Juans on every side.

Elevation (feet): 14,048
Elevation (meters): 4,282
Continent: North America
Country: United States
Range/Region: San Juan Mountains
State: Colorado
Latitude: 37.9131
Longitude: -107.504
Difficulty: Walk up
Best months for climbing: Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep
Year first climbed: 1874
First successful climber(s): Hayden Survey (first recorded)
Nearest major airport: Gunnison or Durango
Convenient Center: Lake City

Thanks to Kirk Mallory for adding this peak.

Trip Reports

NOTE: Trip reports were previously called "Summit Logs" - same feature, new name

There are 33 trip reports for Handies Peak.

Select any entry from the list below:

  • Log #22364 - by Patrick L. Lilly on Dec 06, 2012
    Because my wife, who was out of practice, was trying to join us for this climb, I ditched the original plan of summiting via the Grizzly Gulch trail, and we drove around to the American Basin TH....
  • Log #20544 - by Robert Gardner on Dec 19, 2006
    Easy climb. I was coming from Nellies Creek to find a camping spot in American Basin, so I could climb Handies the next morning. I arrived in the Basin about 13:30, the weather was good so I decided...
  • Log #10663 - by Liba Hardekopf on Sep 13, 2004
    One of the easier Colorado fourteeners, not very long, and dogs and kids friendly. My 10 year old son really enjoyed this one.
  • Log #10664 - by Attila L. Magyar on Sep 09, 2004
    Supposedly this is the easiest of the fourteeners in Colorado. This must be true indeed, as one can easily climb from the parking lot, located about 0.5 mile from the mountain itself, to the summit...
  • Log #10665 - by Aaron S. Bell on Aug 20, 2004
    American Basin was spectacular; the wildflowers filled the entire basin. The summit wasn't bad either, absolutely worth the climb (it was tough for us flatlanders).....this was my first 14er, only 53...
  • Log #10666 - by Deborah Fronsdahl on July 20, 2004
    My 13th successful 14er summit; 13 is my lucky number. :) Met Quale Smith from the famous Climbing Smiths on the summit. Made it even that more special. Could have done without the smoke from the...
  • Log #10667 - by Rob Speer on Oct 07, 2003
    Beautiful day for hiking, very warm. Went up from the American Basin. Accidentally went up a trail closed for revegetation, current path goes along a small lake and shelf in the basin. Very easy...
  • Log #10668 - by Calvin Truman on Sep 11, 2003
    Nice easy hike with lots of color as I did it in the fall. My dog loved it!
  • Log #10669 - by Kara Diamond- Husmann on Sep 03, 2003
    Wow! What a view from this peak. The trail was great all the way to the summit. It was a crystal clear day. My husband and I enjoyed this 14er.
  • Log #10670 - by Jen Curry on Aug 26, 2003
    I got engaged at the top!
  • Log #10672 - by A.J. Sisco on Aug 03, 2003
    This was a great peak for my first 14er. I had hoped to summit with my 10-year-old son; however, at Sloan Lake I had to send him down to the trail head with my wife because he had a severe headache....
  • Log #10673 - by Sid Hayes on June 08, 2003
    A great shortcut to Handies. One can avoid the drive around to Lake City or a jeep drive over the passes. 1:30 to the summit of Handies and 1:10 back. 2:40 total.
  • Log #10674 - by Chris Barron on June 03, 2003
    Don't start out at the Grouse Gulch trailhead north of Silverton, expect to summit, and get back without a headlamp! Jeremy Stroop and I climbed up from Grouse Gulch on a day climb starting at...
  • Log #10675 - by Jeremy Stroop on June 02, 2003
    My first 14er summit (South Massive doesn't count). It was my 4th attempt at a 14er, and for various reasons had not made it until this time. We started in Grouse Gulch (mistake)... it was a long...
  • Log #10676 - by Mike Hayward on Sep 25, 2002
    Beautiful fall weather, very mild wind, no clouds. The walk is extremely easy and very protected from Grizzly Gulch. Only a couple hundred feet near the top on the ridge are loose at all.
  • Log #10677 - by Ryan Badtke on Sep 24, 2002
    Hey Joy, I received your e-mail about going climbing, but your address didn't work. Please send me another e-mail with your e-mail address in it. Thanks, Ryan
  • Log #10678 - by Ryan Badtke on Sep 24, 2002
    This was the 34th and last 14er of my wonderful summer living in Colorado. You see, I am from Wisconsin, but should have been born in Colorado. I finally got an internship in Littleton, and lived in...
  • Log #10679 - by Kyle Plastino on Nov 16, 2001
    Went up from American Basin with my Colorado Outward Bound group. Lotta fun!!!
  • Log #10680 - by Nathan Woods on Nov 09, 2001
    What an experience! This was my first fourteener and I could not have picked a better one. It was just enough work for a first-timer to feel he earned the view. We started up the Grizzly Gulch trail...
  • Log #10681 - by Kevin Koski on Sep 13, 2001
    An awesome mountain - the geodes in the sattle between Whitecross and the summit were nice to look at!
  • Log #10682 - by Dan Stewart on Aug 27, 2001
    A beautiful and easy (for a 14er) hike. The trail from American Basin is clearly marked and there are very few rough places to negotiate. There are also numerous places to stop along the way to enjoy...
  • Log #10683 - by Chris Long on Aug 24, 2001
    Trip report with pics available at www.mtngoat14k.com
  • Log #10684 - by John Collard on July 26, 2001
    14er #9. I climbed Handies from Grizzly Gulch and pretty much had the glorious wildflowers all to myself. It was an easy trail the entire way. There was a group of 17 people sitting on the summit...
  • Log #10685 - by Louis Theriault on July 25, 2001
    This was my first 14er and a wonderful way to celebrate the Fourth. My son and his wife and two sons, Nate and Jake, ages 9 and 7, summitted via Grizzly Gulch.
  • Log #10686 - by Scott Kelley on July 16, 2001
    Well, this wasn't exactly a normal expedition. I paced Blake Wood (of Los Alamos, NM) during the Hardrock 100 Endurance Run this past weekend, helping him on the leg from Grouse Gulch to Sherman. We...
  • Log #10687 - by Brook Laskey on May 22, 2001
    Our team: Kirk Allen, John Badal, Brook Laskey, Brian Letherer, Randy "Box" Lynn and Chad Whitsell. We accessed the peak via Grouse Gulch (ele. 10,700 ft), outside of Silverton, Colorado....
  • Log #10688 - by Matt Kirk on Nov 03, 2000
    Greetings 14er climbers and enthusiasts. I just wanted to let everyone know that there should be a 14ers forum coming soon at http://www.trailjournals.com. If you have the time, please come by and...
  • Log #10689 - by Greg Branch on Oct 18, 2000
    Summited with my sister, Debra Mc Brier, and her husband Bill, from Florida. This was our first 14er. Could see the Grendiers, Needles, LaPlatas, and San Miguels. It was a very nice day, with a few...
  • Log #10690 - by Jarrett Luttrell on Sep 22, 2000
    Well it must be time to get that beeter pickup. My car just doesn't like these backroads anymore. June is not too late to get some nice turns in on Handies! Going in on Grizzly gulch you can preview...
  • Log #10691 - by Cops on Top Memorial Law Enfo Team on Sep 17, 2000
    Summitted by The Farmington New Mexico Police Department Special Response Team on 8-17-00 as part of a team building excercise. Members of the Special Response Team participating included: ...
  • Log #10692 - by Chuck Newton on July 21, 2000
    All of the wisdom was in the view of so many surrounding peaks and in the flowers we saw as we hiked up Grizzly Gulch--a beautiful trail.
  • Log #10693 - by Matt kirk on June 26, 2000
    Via West slopes direct route from American Basin. Again, we pioneered a route on a easy 14er making more trouble for ourselves than necessary. We started directly towards the summit from where we...
  • Log #10694 - by Kirk Mallory on Aug 13, 1999
    A great hike with great views. Used the Grizzly Gulch approach to the ridge northeast of Handies. I also climbed Whitecross Mountain (13,542) on my way back.