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Via Hancock Lakes
Route

Via Hancock Lakes

 
Via Hancock Lakes

Page Type: Route

Location: Colorado, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 38.61113°N / 106.34381°W

Object Title: Via Hancock Lakes

Season: Summer

Time Required: Most of a day

Difficulty: Hike & Class III

Route Quality: 
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Page By: nader

Created/Edited: Sep 8, 2008 / Jan 17, 2014

Object ID: 440588

Hits: 1823 

Page Score: 76.66%  - 7 Votes 

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Getting There

Directions to the ghost town of Hancock:

From the town of Buena Vista drive 8 miles south on Route 285 to a place known as Nathrop and then turn west onto Route 162. Drive this road 15.3 miles to just before the ghost town of St. Elmo (the first 10 miles are paved and the rest is a well graded dirt road).

Turn left onto Route 295. This road is rougher but is still passable by most/any car. Continue 2.7 miles until you see a detour around an old decaying railroad bridge (The detour is rather steep and the road beyond it is much rougher. I did not need to use 4 wheel drive but I will probably not drive this road in anything less than an SUV). Continue another 2.8 miles to the remains of the old mining town of Hancock.

Route Description

All distances are per my GPS.

Place……………Elevation (ft)…………Distance (miles)

Hancock…………11050…………………zero

Lower Hancock
Lake……………..11660………………….1.50

Upper Hancock
Lake………..……11740…………………..0.7

Chalk Creek
Pass………………12150…………………..0.4

Sewanee…………..13132………………….0.5


Total…………………………………………………3.1 miles

At the ghost town of Hancock, you will see a trail heading west to the old Alpine Tunnel. Don’t go there. Head south on a rough 4 wheel drive road (you will immediately see a road on the right that goes to Hancock and Williams Passes. Do not turn here either). Hike or drive the road south to the end of it at the Lower Hancock Lake. The road will give you good views of the rocky Sewanee Peak to the southeast.
Trailhead
Sewanee

At the lower lake, Van Wirt Peak and the impressive triangular Point 13254 ft first come to view. Hike south on a trail on the west side of the lower lake until you reach the higher lake. The trail then crosses to the east side of the upper lake, makes a few switchbacks and goes up to reach the Chalk Creek Pass.
Van Wirt & Peak 13254
Van Wirt & Peak 13254 ft

Sewanee will now be to your east/northeast. From far away its steep slopes may appear to be covered with nasty scree (see Route photo) but I found these slopes to have medium sized boulders that were fairly stable. As I climbed the slopes, in a few places I did create mini rock slides but overall the experience was pretty pleasant.
Route
Route

Steep
Steep Slopes

Essential Gear

In summer, only good hiking equipment.

Images

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