Our initial plan was to hike up Handies Peak, but the weather forecast for Saturday had a very high chance of snow and rain. Plan B was to hike Uncompahgre Peak from the Nellie Creek Trailhead accessed from Lake City. The weather forecast was not too promising for our hike, but we started nice and early to increase our chances. Dark clouds covered the skies early on, so there was a little tension in the air on the hike up. We could see some blue behind the clouds, but we could also see some precipitation drifting from clouds on neighboring peaks. The result of the clouds were very unique lighting conditions and views on the way up.
Before we start on the hike, it should be noted that Nellie Creek is accessed via a 4WD road. This is readily evident by the large rocks just after you turn onto the road. At least on our visit, this initial section was by far the most difficult segment of the road. There are a few creek crossing later on the road as well, which could be much deeper earlier in the year as well. The reward for battling up the 4 mile drive road is cutting off 2,500′ of additional climbing and obviously 8 miles of hiking. Don’t worry, you still get a very nice 7.5 mile roundtrip hike with 3,000′ of gain from the 4WD parking.
Uncompahgre Peak (14,309′)
We expected to be hurrying down the mountain to beat the rain, but thankfully the forecast was incorrect.