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Redcloud, Sunshine, and Handies Peaks

Alpine BLM National Conservation Area
Handies Wilderness
Sunshine and Redcloud National Protection Area
Agency Status: WSA
Counties: Hinsdale
Nearest City of Town: Lake City
Location: SW of Lake City
Just southwest of Lake City, Handies, Redcloud, and Sunshine Peaks (all above 14,000 ft.) dominate one of the most spectacular alpine areas in Colorado. Visitors are awed by rugged volcanic peaks, valleys punctuated with waterfalls and lush grottoes, and expanses of high rolling tundra The upper reaches of the Lake Fork of the Gunnison River bounds the region on the north, adding to the biological and geological interest of the area.
The area is an ecological corridor between the northern and southern San Juan Mountains. The BLM has designated two Wilderness Study Areas here: Handies WSA and Redcloud WSA.
Redcloud Peak WSA lies at the center of the scenic Alpine Loop Backcountry Byway. Approximately a million visitors a year use the jeep roads to enjoy the stunning scenery. The Handies WSA supports a large elk herd, and is popular with hunters. A small herd of bighorn sheep winter on the north side of the area.
The Colorado Preservation Project encloses this whole region with a National Conservation Area, allowing the motorized touring which is so critical to the local economy to continue, while providing protection to the environment. More stringent National Protection Areas within this boundary will prevent the sensitive core from further road development, and allow bicyclists and hikers to share the pristine beauty of the alpine slopes. Cycling opportunities are very limited on the steep slope surrounding Handies Peak, which CPP proposes for Wilderness designation.