There are two commonly used trails to the summit of Handies Peak: one goes up through American Basin on the west side of the mountain, and the other approaches the peak from the east through Grizzly Gulch. Of these two alternatives the trail through American Basin is the most popular, simply because it is shorter. It is only 2.1 miles from the American Basin Trailhead to the summit, and the elevation gain is only 2,450 feet. The round trip hike from American Basin to the summit of Handies Peak can easily be done in 4 or 5 hours. But in my opinion Grizzly Gulch is one of the most striking glacial valleys in the San Juans, and it would be a shame to miss it. I suggest you climb Handies from the American Basin Trailhead but make your descent down the Grizzly Gulch Trail to experience the joy of a downhill stroll through an incredibly beautiful alpine valley.
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Directions to: Handies Peakprint directions
Trail Statistics & Information
|Nearby City||Lake City|
|Elevation Gain||2,450 ft|
|Skill Level||Well maintained and easy to follow.|
|Season||Midsummer through mid-Fall. The upper parts of the trail are generally covered with snow from early November through mid- July.|
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