Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Yankee Boy Basin

Seems like every single vehicle in Ouray and at the campground was a Jeep or 4WD of some kind. Many folks rented their Jeeps from a number of rental agencies in town. And where did all those 4WD vehicles want to go? Yankee Boy Basin!  It’s the most popular trail in the region, and with good reason. A fun, relatively easy drive for most of the trail with scenic spots and wildflowers, and a more challenging top end of the trail that ascends up to nearly 13,000 feet near the peak of Mt. Sneffels.

I took this drive twice and, even though it seemed like rush-hour in Chicago at a few spots, the scenery more than made up for the traffic.

Here’s the prime spot to take a photo of your vehicle as you head up the trail called “Drinking Cup”

Soon after, you drive under this impressive rock overhang:

About 3/4 up the trail, you arrive to the basin itself, brimming with wildflowers and beautiful mountain peaks all around.  THere’s also a number of waterfalls, including a set of 2 falls called, appropriately enough, Twin Falls.


The final mile and a half of the trail is much more challenging—a very steep, narrow and very rocky climb to near the top of Mt. Sneffels and other “14’er” peaks.  I wasn’t sure if the little Tracker would make it, and the skid plates hit a few rocks at times, but we indeed did reach the summit!

There was a terrific, emerald-colored pond at the summit that even had a bit of blue-colored “iceberg” floating in it.

The drive down was, thankfully, much easier.  Some wonderful views that direction as well!

All in all, an amazing trail!


  1. The scenery on the way is wonderful!

  2. Wow, that's some really stunning scenery! Lovely flower shots with that big rock/mountain in the background :)

  3. That's beautiful! Is it a trail that a little car could do, or do you need a high-off-the-ground vehicle?

  4. An AWD car could make it up to the waterfalls, but a 4WD with low gear is required up to the summit. Normal 2WD cars cannot do these trails due to steep grades and numerous rocks. Fortunately, there are a bunch of places in Ouray that rent Jeeps or offer guided tours, so you can here ( that's why I mentioned "rush hour traffic"-- on some summer days the trail has quite a few vehicles on it due to all the rental jeeps!)


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