The scenic quality of the Handies Peak Wilderness Study Area in Colorado 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.
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. 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.
Photo: Bob Wick, BLM California — at Bureau of Land Management – Colorado.