Rising high and proud above Hancock Pass along the Continental Divide is UN 13111, aptly nicknamed “Hancock Peak.” Everything in this area seems to be named Hancock, from the town site to the pass to the lakes and the jeep road running to them, yet UN 13111 remains officially nameless. From Hancock Lake, the peak is a powerful presence, with steep northeastern slopes capped by a knobby point. When viewed from the south atop Pt. 13254, “Hancock Peak” takes its place along a snaking, sinuous ridge that makes up the Continental Divide.
The peak resides on the western edge of the Sawatch Range in the San Isabel National Forest. To the east, north and south from the summit, one sees an impressive ocean of fellow Sawatch peaks. To the west across a vast valley, the San Juans rise in the distance. To sit on the summit of “Hancock Peak” enjoying the views is to ponder: So many mountains, so little time!
Colorado Rank: 560th highest peak in Colorado
Prominence: 491 feet
USGS Quad: Garfield
Planning Map: Trails Illustrated #130 Salida, St. Elmo | Mount Shavano
Rank & Prominence Source: Lists of John
Bordered by US 285 to the east and US 50 to the south, and served by numerous Jeep roads and foot/pack trails, UN 13111 is an extraordinarily accessible peak. Though the approach options numerous, the below table summarizes primary approach points and variations.
|Access Point||Origination||General Driving Directions|
|Hancock||US 285 near Nathrop||From Hwy 285 near Nathrop, head west on Rt 162. Follow Rt 162 west for 15 miles to Hancock Road (FS 295). Suitable for passenger cars to Hancock Townsite. Route gets increasingly rough to Hancock Pass.|
|South Access from US 50||Several variations||From Salida, follow US 50 westbound. Depending on your preferences, follow Middle Fork Road (FS 230, 4x4) northwest out of Garfield, follow Boss Lake Road (FS 235, 4x4), ascend via Waterdog Lake Trail (#1417) or catch the Continental Divide Trail from near Monarch Ski Area.|
|Western Access||Several variations||Follow Alpine Tunnel Road (FS 839) or Tomichi Pass Road (FS 888, 4x4) toward Hancock Pass|
|Very little red tape governs use of this area. There are no fees or permits required to access “Hancock Peak.” Minus a private inholding here and there, the peak is surrounded by the San Isabel National Forest where there are few limitations on recreational usage by the public.|
• Rustic, undeveloped camping abounds in all directions surrounding “Hancock Peak.” Both 4x4 camping as well as back-packing camping are available on a un-permitted, first-come, first-served bases off of the Forest Service roads and trails throughout the San Isabel Nation Forest.
• The nearest established USFS campground to “Hancock Peak” is the Middle Quarts campground on the west side of the peak, reached via Middle Quartz Creek Road (FS 767).