Handies, Red Cloud, Sunshine Questions

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trekingwithhim
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Handies, Red Cloud, Sunshine Questions

Post by trekingwithhim »

I plan to hike Handies, Red Cloud and Sunshine in early August. I have never been to this area and have some questions.

American Basin trail compared to Grizzly Gulch up Handies? I'm leaning towards Grizzly gulch, but part of the equation is the road condition to the 4wd trailhead in the America Basin. I'm driving a stock Ford Expedition, should this be doable? Any other input in weighing these two trail options?

How early do these lots fill up on a weekday (Thur & Fri)?

How long does it take to get from Lake City to these trailheads?

Re: Red Cloud & Sunshine, I'm tempted to hang a right and climb Sunshine on the NW route first then come back across to Red Cloud and down the NE ridge. Any input on this? I heard the steep upslope may have had an avalanche and become even harder or even impassable? Is going this direction wiser than going the opposite way and coming down that incline?

If you were going to choose between Red Cloud & Sunshine or Uncompadhre, which would you choose?

Is there anything else I need to know in my considerations?

Thank you all!
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CaptainSuburbia
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Re: Handies, Red Cloud, Sunshine Questions

Post by CaptainSuburbia »

I would not climb Sunshine first on the NW route. I would suggest going Redcloud to Sunshine then making it a loop by going over Sundog.
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HikerGuy
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Re: Handies, Red Cloud, Sunshine Questions

Post by HikerGuy »

trekingwithhim wrote: Mon Jun 27, 2022 4:21 pm If you were going to choose between Red Cloud & Sunshine or Uncompadhre, which would you choose?
If you are big on scenery, Uncompahgre is one of the most scenic and would be my choice to repeat between to two.
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huffy13
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Re: Handies, Red Cloud, Sunshine Questions

Post by huffy13 »

The road to Grizzly Gulch/Silver Creek trailheads is a relatively well maintained and good road, as far as mountain roads go. Your vehicle will have no trouble getting to that point. It's a little washboarded in places, a few minor puddles, and the shelf road can be a little intimidating...but it's still a good road. Once you go much past the parking area for these two trailheads the road gets worse. When I hiked Handies with my kids several years ago we ascended via Grizzly Gulch and descended via American Basin and just hiked the road around Whitecross Mountain back to the Grizzly Gulch TH parking area. It only adds a couple miles to the hike but it is easy road hiking and the scenery makes it totally worth it.

As far as the parking area filling up I wouldn't worry too much about that. Yes, they are going to be somewhat busy but there is actually quite a bit of parking space there and I've never seen it completely packed, even on a weekend.

It took us about 1 hour to get to the trailhead from the cabin we stayed at in the middle of Lake City

I don't have any real helpful input of the Redcloud/Sunshine routes other than the standard route is scenic and much easier than the way I did the combo, ascending from Mill Creek, descending the standard route and then hiking the road back to Mill Creek. That ascent was steep and unrelenting.

Personally, Uncompahgre is my favorite and I'd do it a hundred times before I'd do Sunshine and Redcloud again, although the road to Uncompahgre is a little rougher.

But I'd seriously consider doing Handies via the loop hike. Handies looks amazing and is in front of you the entire way up Grizzly Gulch, it looks really bland from the AB side, but descending via AB you still get to enjoy Sloan Lake and the wildflowers.
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transistor
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Re: Handies, Red Cloud, Sunshine Questions

Post by transistor »

I was just there last week. The road to Grizzly Gulch is in better shape (but still rough) than last time I was there a few years ago. After Grizzly Gulch, the road to American Basin is quite a bit rougher now, but definitely no problem in an Excursion. The Grizzly Gulch parking lot will probably fill up before sunrise. There are a few spots further down the road you could probably find after that.

I'd choose Uncompahgre over Red Cloud and Sunshine any day.
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RobLowe
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Re: Handies, Red Cloud, Sunshine Questions

Post by RobLowe »

CaptainSuburbia wrote: Mon Jun 27, 2022 4:32 pm I would not climb Sunshine first on the NW route. I would suggest going Redcloud to Sunshine then making it a loop by going over Sundog.
I second Judd. Although I like to go counterclockwise, getting Sundog first, Sunshine second, and Redcloud last. That way you are uphilling the nasty scree gully on the way to Sunshine rather than downhilling that crud.
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Re: Handies, Red Cloud, Sunshine Questions

Post by two lunches »

i did Uncompahgre in summer and the UNs (which share the RC/S approach from Griz) in the fall. can't recommend it enough

just watch out for those boulders in the Griz parking lot... they're sneaky. 8-[
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Re: Handies, Red Cloud, Sunshine Questions

Post by madmattd »

stephakett wrote: Tue Jun 28, 2022 9:31 amjust watch out for those boulders in the Griz parking lot... they're sneaky. 8-[
:lol:

trekingwithhim, I'm adding my vote to Unc over Redcloud/Sunshine if I had to choose. Redcloud's pretty cool though, and all have nice views. I still need to hit Sundog someday...
trekingwithhim
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Re: Handies, Red Cloud, Sunshine Questions

Post by trekingwithhim »

Thank you all, I appreciate the info. Anymore anyone has is appreciated.

It appears the NW route up Sunshine is a no go, so it's either RC-Shine-RC or Sundog-Shine-RC. Such decisions.

I have seen the warnings of the marmots at Grizzly Gulch, but not the boulders. Thanks for the warning! (And seriously, how worried should I be about the marmots?) Does the vehicle really need to be blue burrito or fenced in like a wild animal?

I'll look into Uncompadhre more. I'll be solo, so I want to be smart.

Thank you all!
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CaptainSuburbia
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Re: Handies, Red Cloud, Sunshine Questions

Post by CaptainSuburbia »

RobLowe wrote: Tue Jun 28, 2022 9:06 am
CaptainSuburbia wrote: Mon Jun 27, 2022 4:32 pm I would not climb Sunshine first on the NW route. I would suggest going Redcloud to Sunshine then making it a loop by going over Sundog.
I second Judd. Although I like to go counterclockwise, getting Sundog first, Sunshine second, and Redcloud last. That way you are uphilling the nasty scree gully on the way to Sunshine rather than downhilling that crud.
Although Counterclockwise is a great song

I would go clockwise because Redcloud is a no brainer in the dark so you can cruise to a good start, and the turn off for Sundog can be a bit tricky to spot in the dark. Plus, the southeast slope of Sundog is really the highlight of the day and best done going up for the most fun. Just my two cents.
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derekesq
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Re: Handies, Red Cloud, Sunshine Questions

Post by derekesq »

As for marmots, I took the advice here and brought moth balls which I placed variously under my rented truck. I did see random marmots near cars, not sure if they were actually interested in going after wires. Your truck well have no problem to GG/silver creek, there were a few accords and camrys when i was there.
I liked the standard ridge/shoulder trail out and back between Red Cloud and Sunshine, but it does have broken dinner plate rocks that tend to nab ankles.
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