Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 38.93522°N / 107.11679°W
Additional Information GPX File: Download GPX » View Route on Map
Additional Information County: Gunnison
Activities Activities: Mountaineering
Seasons Season: Summer
Additional Information Elevation: 12410 ft / 3783 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Hancock Peak on the right and Oh-Be-Joyful Peak on the left, east face

Hancock Peak along with its twin summit Oh-Be-Joyful Peak are two mid 12ers that rise to the west of Oh-Be-Joyful Basin to the northwest of the town of Crested Butte in the Elk Mountains of central Colorado. USGS Map gives Hancock Peak an exact elevation of 12410 ft and only contour lines above 12400 but below 12440 ft for Oh-Be-Joyful Peak. For this reason, the elevation of Oh-Be-Joyful Peak is often quoted as 12420 ft. Both of these peaks have less than 300 ft of prominence and are therefore not ranked peaks.

A trail starts off of Slate River Road and goes into Oh-Be-Joyful drainage. Reaching the trailhead requires that you cross Slate River. This is often done in a pickup truck or SUV. At the upper end of Oh-Be-Joyful Drainage, the trail splits. One branch heads south to reach Blue Lake while the other goes north into the beautiful Democrat Basin and ultimately the 11740 ft Oh-Be-Joyful Saddle. From the saddle, Hancock Peak is a walkup.

Hancock Peak on the right and Oh-Be-Joyful Peak on the left

Getting There

Directions to Oh-Be-Joyful Trailhead,requires stream crossing:

From the town of Crested Butte in central Colorado drive a short distance north on Gothic Road. Before reaching the ski area, turn left onto Slate River Road (Road 734). Drive this well graded dirt road less than 3 mile north until you see a dirt road on the left side going down to reach the river. Make a U-turn and get on this rougher dirt road and go a short distance to reach Slate River. You can park on the east side of the river but the trailhead is on the west. Most people cross the river in a pickup truck or SUV. When I was in the area, the river was knee deep. A sign said: Do not attempt to cross at times of high water.


All distances are per my GPS.

Oh-Be-Joyful Trailhead
8960 ft
zero miles
Trail Split
10500 ft
5.75 miles
Oh-Be-Joyful Saddle
11740 ft
2.1 miles
12410 ft
0.35 miles
Total One Way
8.2 miles

At the trailhead, head south and go on a gated four wheel drive road that is closed to motor vehicles. The trail goes up in elevation and soon turns west going into the Oh-Be-Joyful drainage. The cascading stream can be seen below.

Oh-Be-Joyful StreamStream

Good view of Mt. Crested Butte behind to the southeast.

Mt. Crested ButteMt. Crested Butte

After about a mile the road turns into a trail that continues up the drainage in a beautiful meadow with patches of trees around. Peeler Peak to the left.

Peeler PeakPeeler Peak

Richmond Mountain will appear to the distant northwest.

Richmond MountainRichmond Mountain

Water pouring down.

On Oh-Be-Joyful Trail

As the valley turns, Hancock and Oh-Be-Joyful Peaks finally come to view.

Hancok Peak (R), Oh-Be-Joyful PeaK (L)(R) Hancock, (L) Oh-Be-Joyful

Mount Emmons behind.

Mount EmmonsMt. Emmons

Afley Peak plus Hancock and Oh-Be-Joyful.

Hancock, Oh-Be-Joyful & Afley PeaksR to L: Hancock, Oh-Be-joyful, Afley Peaks

Afley and Purple Peaks.

Afley & Purple Peaks(R) Afley, (L) Purple Peaks

Garfield Peak.

Garfield PeakGarfield Peak

The trail crosses to the south side of the stream, enters a pine forest and goes up steeply to reach a split in the trail. Left goes to Blue Lake and right to Oh-Be-Joyful Pass. Turn right and follow the trail north in a meadow at the base of a 12060 rocky protrusion.

Point 12060 ftPoint 12060 ft
Hancock Peak (R), Point 12060 ft (L)Hancock Peak & Point 12060 ft

The trail then enters the beautiful Democrat Basin.

(L) Hancock Peak, (R) Richmond MountainHancock Peak & Richmond Mountain

Good views of Hancock Peak.

Hancock PeakHancock Peak

Scarp Ridge.

Scarp RidgeScarp Ridge

Richmond Mountain.

Richmond MountainRichmond Mountain

Scarp Ridge, Garfield and Peeler Peaks.

Scarp Ridge, Garfield Peak & Peeler PeakR to L: Scarp Ridge, Garfield & Peeler Peaks

Point 12060 ft.

Point 12060 ftPoint 12060 ft

Streams, waterfalls everywhere.

Waterfall in Democrat Basin
Democrat Basin

Peeler and Garfield Peaks.

Garfield and Peeler PeaksPeeler & Garfield Peaks

As I went higher the trail got lost under patches of snow. The path to Oh-Be-Joyful Pass was obvious.
Lake forming in the snowfields.

Lake in snowfieldLake
Lake in snowfieldLake

The uneven egg-carton-like surface of the snowfield with depressions thigh deep, made my progress slow and energy consuming.

Egg Carton Snowfield"Egg Carton" Snowfield

Crossing a stream in the snowfields.

Stream emerging and again disappearing under snowfieldsStream


Snowfields upper Democrat Basin
Scarp Ridge, Garfield Peak & Peeler Peak

Snowfields upper Democrat Basin

Oh-Be-Joyful Pass and the summit of Hancock Peak.

Summit of Hancock Peak and Oh-Be-Joyful PassSummit of Hancock & Oh-Be-Joyful Pass

Snow cornices blocking access to the ridgetop. Fortunately a snow-free rocky area provided access.

Snow Cornices below the ridgeSnow Cornices

Above Oh-Be-Joyful Pass, you can leave the trail and hike up grassy slopes toward the summit of Hancock Peak.
Marcellina Mountain to the west.

Marcellina MountainMarcellina Mountain

Talus field below the summit.

Summit of Hancock PeakOn the way to the Summit
Summit of Hancock PeakSummit

Views from the summit.

The RaggedsThe Raggeds
Richmond & Purple MountainsRichmond Mountain
Schuykill, Maroon Bells, Baldy, Gothic etcMaroon Bells
Mt. Crested Butte and Oh-Be-Joyful DrainageMt. Crested Butte

Red Tape

No permits or fees required.

When to Climb