Directions: Getting there is half the adventure. Your driving destination is an outhouse in Yankee Boy Basin, this serves as the non-Jeep trailhead. If you have high clearance 4 wheel drive you can try to make it to the upper trailhead, making for a trip of a few less miles. I drive a 2010 Subaru Forester and it handled great on the road, but I thought it safer to walk from the outhouse. It all depends on your comfort level. From Ouray, head south out of town and turn right on Camp Bird Road. There are various active mines on this road, so the road is fairly well maintained. Stay right at the two turn offs for the mines. After the 2nd mine, the road gets noticeably worse. Stay with it until you get to the outhouse. This road is absolutely beautiful and for the most part totally do-able, don't let it scare you off.
The hike up Yankee Boy Basin to Blue Lakes Pass is simply magnificent. Yankee Boy Basin is an amazing place and the view from the pass is one of the best in Colorado, outdone only by the view from the summit of Mt. Sneffels...1,000 feet to the north...
From the outhouse travel up the dirt road, following well marked signs. Soon you will leave the road on a single track to Wright's Lake. Wrights Lake is a beautiful, small, alpine lake with a rock glacier feeding the far shore and Mt. Sneffels reflected in the surface. At Wright's lake rejoin the road for a short time until another trail sign points you to the single track heading up to Blue Lakes Pass.
From this point the trail steady climbs up the basin as the surrounding peaks envelope you and Mt. Sneffels looms enticingly overhead. After 2 miles or so you'll come to a trail junction, stay straight to go to Blue Lakes Pass, turn right to climb Mt. Sneffels. If you have the desire and the time, I strongly suggest heading up Mt. Sneffels, the trail is hard but it is clear and the views are amazing. However, if you choose to stay straight for Blue Lakes Pass, the result will be no less incredible.
The view from Blue Lakes Pass looks down on both Blue Lakes and stretches out far to the north, south and west. The red and orange streaked peaks contrast nicely with the bluest blue lakes you're likely to see. Truly one of the best views in Colorado. Follow the same trail back to the outhouse and revel in the satisfaction of completing one of Colorado's top hikes.
HIKES BY REGION
NATIONAL PARK HIKES
- BENT'S OLD FORT NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
- BLACK CANYON OF THE GUNNISON NATIONAL PARK
- COLORADO NATIONAL MONUMENT
- CURECANTI NATIONAL RECREATION AREA
- DINOSAUR NATIONAL MONUMENT
- FLORISSANT FOSSIL BEDS NATIONAL MONUMENT
- MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK
- ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK
- GREAT SAND DUNES NATIONAL PARK
- HOVENWEEP NATIONAL MONUMENT
- SAND CREEK MASSACRE NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
- YUCCA HOUSE NATIONAL MONUMENT
- HIKES BY CATEGORY
- $UPPORT GHC
- INTERACTIVE MAP
Blue Lakes Pass
Mt. Sneffels Wilderness
Uncompahgre National Forest
Date Hiked: August 28, 2013
Distance: 4.8 mi (RT)
Elevation Gain: 1,300ft
Elevation Min/Max: 11,240 to 12,970ft
Trailhead Lat/Long: 37.988316º N; 107.765613º W
Managing Agency: U.S. Forest Service