ELEVATION GAIN: 1300’
MAXIMUM DEPTH AND AREA: 36’, 6 acres
EASE OF FISHING: About 30% of the lake’s shore is steep and dangerous
SPECIES/SIZES: Colorado River Cutthroat trout to 8”
SETTING: A Switzerland Alps-type scene
APPROXIMATE ICE-OUT: July 10 – 20
TOPOGRAPHIC MAPS: Handies Peak
ACCESS: 1.4 mile foot trail
ACCESS DESCRIPTION: From Lake City, drive 2.2 miles south on Highway 149 to the junction with County Road 30. Take this road, the main approach to Cinnamon Pass, for about 12 miles to its junction with County Road 34, the Shelf Road, which you can take to the right. Most high clearance 2WDs can make it up the narrow Shelf Road. At timberline, turn left into American Basin (County Road 12). Park here or 4WD’s can proceed one more mile to the road’s end (marked with a sign). Hike from this point 1.4 more miles to the lake. The last one-half mile is steep and has 700 foot elevation gain. At this point, the panorama stirs memories of Heidi and her goats. Hikers can continue from here to Handies Peak, 14,048’ in full view to the north.
NOTES: Sloan Lake is the headwaters for the Lake Fork of the Gunnison River. It is the highest of the area’s fish-holding lakes and winterkill is not uncommon. In 1986, uncommon Colorado River Cutthroat Trout were planted in Sloan Lake with hope that they would spectacularly perched among the crags overlooking American Basin. Its water is so amazingly clear that the lake’s floor appears as if seen through a glass-bottomed boat! Near the lake, keep an eye out for the white-tailed ptarmigan, the ruff-legged bird that has no peers in its ability to camouflage itself.
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