NOTICE: Trails may be closed due to local orders related to stopping the spread of COVID-19. The towns and counties you drive through to get to specific trails may be closed due to local orders. Please follow all local health authority directives before venturing off.

Yankee Boy Basin

Ouray, Colorado (Ouray County)

Last Updated: 05/28/2020
4.7 / 5 ( 12 reviews )
Information
Nearby Trails
Status: Open
Typically Open: 07/01 - 11/01
Length: 9.4 miles
Highest Elevation: 12272 feet
Duration: About 2 hours
Shape of Trail: Out & Back
Best Direction to Travel: West
Nearest Town: Ouray
Nearest Town w/ Services: Ouray
Official Road Name: 853
Management Agency: Uncompahgre National Forest
District: Montrose Ranger District
Showing 0 trails within 2 miles

Highlights

Highlight: Yankee Boy Basin
Picture the grandeur of Colorado, and the area that comes to mind may certainly be Yankee Boy Basin. This spectacular area has been immortalized in many landscape photos and calendars of Colorado mountains. Yankee Boy Basin offers something for most anyone that makes the trek into its mountains. From some of the most lush and beautiful evergreen forests one can imagine, seemingly infinite fields of wildflowers that stretch from peak to peak in the later part of July, to stunning craggy peaks that stand watch over the area, including the formidable 14,158 foot Mt. Sneffels. In addition to the natural wonders of Yankee Boy Basin, this area once held some of the richest mining history in the state of Colorado. Still active gold and silver mines contrast the approximately 130 year old mining ruins present from a bygone era. More information about the mining industry in the area as well as splendid photographs of the mines working in their heyday can be found at Miningartifacts.org

Video

Weather

7 day forecast for Yankee Boy Basin

Route Information

Technical Rating:
(EASY - MODERATE)

Read more about our rating system

Waypoints

1. Trailhead (0.00 mi)
The trailhead is well marked on the south side of US 550. There is plenty of area for vehicles to stage and air down. This area is also a trailhead for the Ouray Perimeter and Ice Park Loop hiking trails. The first 1.5 miles of the route are dotted with residential homes. Please be mindful of those with homes in the area and reduce your speed accordingly.

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead Coordinates: 38.015990, -107.672060

Starting Point: Ouray, CO

From the corner of US 550 and 6th Avenue in Ouray: Travel south on US 550 for 0.6 miles. In the first switchback as US 550 exits the town of Ouray, turn right and follow signs for Camp Bird Road and Box Canyon Falls. The trailhead is noted at the forest service information sign approximately 100 yards off of US 550. A large OHV Parking area is present across US 550 from Camp Bird Road.

Camping

Improved

Trail Reviews (16)

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
This trail has some great views. Not a hard trail, although about 1/4 mile from the very top/end of the trail, there's a snow bank that we had to cross. As long as you have lockers, you should be okay to cross - keep your momentum through the snow bank (37.992568, -107.780342)!

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Officially listed as OPEN per Ouray County Road and Bridge. Please adhere to any local orders and lets value our chance to get back out into the glory of the San Juans!

Author: Official Crew
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Ouray County Road and Bridge has been hard at work on Yankee Boy. Pictures on the Bridge dept Facebook page show Yankee Boy to be open to the bathrooms just past Waypoint 9. Please syl keep in mind local regulations regarding Covid-19 may limit travel and lodging in the area.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Impassable
Offroaded on:
Rating:
High Country Roads Opening Priority May 12, 2020 Update Crews will begin work May 18, 2020 with the goal to have all High Country Roads open by the July 4th weekend. Please note: some services may be unavailable or slow to respond due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please be respectful of local Public Health Orders and restrictions. Visit https://ouraycountyco.gov/396/Coronavirus-COVID-19-Updates-and-Resourc to check current orders and for more information. (Note – Crew 1 and Crew 2 work concurrently) Crew 1: Yankee Boy (Depending on snowfall, anticipated time to reach the Outhouses is 4 days.) Crew 2: Red Mountain Town – Open the Main Loop Crew 1: Corkscrew Crew 2: Engineer Crew 1: Imogene Crew 2: Crews will move to help open Imogene after the completion of Engineer Updates will be posted periodically on the Ouray County Website (www.ouraycountyco.gov) and on the Road and Bridge Facebook page. ***Subject to change due to weather and emergencies***

Author: Official Crew
Status: Impassable
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Currently, San Juan County has issued CLOSURES on all their backcountry passes. San Miguel, Hinsdale, and Ouray County issued a travel at your own risk advisory. https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/sanjuan/maps-pubs/?cid=fsbdev3_002300

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
This trail was easy up to twin falls then gets more technical with lots of switchbacks, we didn't make it up to blue lakes trailhead, turned around and did Imogene pass

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Driving with a Land Cruiser group all week from back east, we'd done half a dozen roads/trails across Colorado with the aim of ending the expedition in Ouray/Silverton. We arrived to Ouray on Friday and drove straight through town to Yankee Boy! The road is in decent shape, with some erosion and ruts, but overall Yankee Boy posed no problem for our group. Mountain views were awesome, though we did observe some haze due to smoke from a nearby controlled/prescribed burn. Overall, a fantastic 4x4 road!

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
The trail is 100% open from beginning to end including the spur around wrights lake. I would say the trail rating here is very deceiving... up to the split with Governors, yes, the trail is a 1, but beyond that no way. The remains of the avalanche just before twin falls have totally melted out around the road, but a massive amount of snow remains in the valley. Above the falls the trail might be a bit more rutted out in places, but is pretty much how I remember it from a few years ago. The trail is extremely busy, even during the week. Expect traffic the entire way. That is why I gave it only 3 stars. Dealing with all the traffic becomes tiresome.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
The trail shows pretty obvious signs of avalanche damage and repair. There was a pretty big one that hit right near the Imogene turn off. Lots of snapped fir and bent Aspen trees. I counted at least 4 avalanches between the start of Camp Bird road and the second mine activity. Just past the fork to Governor basin, the trail becomes difficult as drainage has routed itself down the road. This particular spot generated a bevy of traffic jams as vehicles had difficulty negotiating this new obstacle. Just at Twin Falls, there is a 36" washout you have to cross. We did a pickup truck recovery here as this full-size Silverado tried an alternate line over the dirt bank to the left and got high centered. Strapping down the hill (With gravity) did the trick. . Always try first to get unstuck the way they got stuck. A little past the bathrooms is the end of the line at a snowbank. It was still a beautiful trail ride with abundant wildflowers

Author: Official Crew
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Although the trail is open, it is not 100% passable. The road is only cleared to the parking lot and bathrooms just beyond Twin Falls and waypoint 10. Beyond there it is not plowed so I assume they will let that melt out naturally.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Per Ouray Country: YANKEE BOY BASIN is now OPEN!! Thank you to our outstanding road and bridge crew! It was a challenge this year. Please enjoy with caution as road conditions are very wet and there may be standing water as well as ice or mud.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Per Ouray County Road and Bridge Dept: Yankee Boy Basin is nearly done being bulldozed and is projected to be open within the coming weeks.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Impassable
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Heavy snow pack and late season snow falls have greatly affected the opening date to many of the trails in the San Juan Mountains. I will try to quickly update these trail guides to reflect when the hard working plow and dozer operators are able to dig these wonderful trails out for all of us to enjoy. https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/sanjuan/maps-pubs/?cid=fsbdev3_002300

Author: Official Crew
Status: Impassable
Offroaded on:

Ouray County has announced that plowing operations have begun for these trails. From the county:

High Country Roads Opening Priority

May 6, 2019 Update

Crews will begin work May 6, 2019 with the goal to have all High Country Roads open by the July 4th weekend.

***Please be aware: Southwestern Colorado received an exceptional amount of snow during the 2018-2019 winter. Roads may be cleared later than usual, and dangers like avalanches may still exist into the summer months. Please use caution when venturing into these areas.***

(Note – Crew 1 and Crew 2 work concurrently)

Crew 1: Yankee Boy (Depending on snowfall, anticipated time to reach the Outhouses is 4 days.)

Crew 2: Red Mountain Town – Open the Main Loop

Crew 1: Corkscrew

Crew 2: Engineer

Crew 1: Imogene

Crew 2: Crews will move to help open Imogene after the completion of Engineer


Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
The county announced today that Yankee Boy Basin is open all the way through. Plow crews have been working there all week and cleared it today. This is weather pending and can change if there is a storm.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Snow has fallen making this trail impassable until next season, closed at the top by snow according to the U.S Forest Service. https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/sanjuan/maps-pubs/?cid=fsbdev3_002300

Questions & Answers (1)

Q: Thinking of doing Yankee Boy Basin in a couple of weekends. Could a stock F150 or Tacoma TRD get to the end? If not how for can we reasonably expect to get? Thanks!
–Prosper Wang (09/06/2018)
–Neal A. Tew (10/03/2018)
–Alec Zamora (10/02/2018)
–Prosper Wang (09/06/2018)

Writer Information

Greg Stokes

Mapping Crew - Colorado

Greg Stokes Is a Colorado native, born and raised in Colorado Springs. He has been off-roading since childhood, his parents say his first trip was a Jeep run over Medano Pass when he was only 14 Months old. Greg has been at the wheel of everything from dirtbikes, ATV's, early Jeep CJ5's that he has restored, Wranglers, and presently explores in a 1997 80 Series Toyota Land Cruiser and a 2016 Kawasaki KLR650 motorcycle. Greg is a proud Husband and Father of 3. His passion in the off road world is the vehicle-reliant world of Overlanding. He hopes to one day make it to Canada to Explore the Yukon and Northwest territories.
For individual use only, not to be shared.