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.
All distances are per my GPS.
|Hancock||11050 ft||zero miles
|Lower Hancock Lake||11660 ft||1.5 miles
|Upper Hancock Lake||11740 ft||0.7 miles
|Chalk Creek Pass||12150 ft||0.4 miles
|Summit||13369 ft||1.25 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.
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 Chalk Creek Pass.
Van Wirt & Point 13254 ft
You will then leave the trail heading west on top of a boulder covered ridge-top to the top of Point 13254 ft, down to a 13100 ft saddle and then the summit of Monumental Peak
Monumental from 13254
Slopes of 13254