The scenic quality of the Handies Peak WSA is outstanding due to the interaction of mountainous landforms; multi-colored rock strata; diverse vegetation; and vast, open vistas. Handies Peak itself rises 14048 feet over the area and is the highest point of land managed by the Bureau of Land Management outside of Alaska. This WSA also hosts 12 other peaks that rise over 13,000 feet, three major canyons, numerous small drainages, glacial cirques and three alpine lakes. The geomorphology shows a variety of volcanic, glacial and Precambrian formations. A rock glacier formation is also located at the head of American Basin.
Total Area: 16,301 acres
Elevation Range: ~9,400 to ~14,048 feet
BLM Field Office: Gunnison
Designated: 1980 (Wilderness Study Area)
Location: The Handies Peak WSA is located in Hinsdale County, 10 miles southwest of Lake City.
Flora & Fauna: Vegetation consists mainly of mixed sprice, fir, aspen, alpine grasses, sedges, and forbs. Fauna includes elk, deer, black bear, various small mammals, bighorn sheep, and very rarely, mountain goats.
Recreation: Activities include hiking, backpacking, camping, mountain climbing, and photography. For more information, visit the Recreation page. Please note that though unconfined recreation is encouraged in WSAs, specific types of recreation may be barred from a specific area to prevent degradation of natural conditions.
< Back to main Wilderness Study Areas page
Gunnison Field Office | (970) 642-4940 | 650 S. 11th St., Gunnison, CO 81230
Tres Rios Field Office | (970) 882-7296 | 29211 Hwy 184, Dolores, CO 81323