Yankee Boy Basin Trailhead


San Juan Mountains
37.995° N, -107.78472° W
14ers: Mt. Sneffels
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Road Difficulty

Easy 4WD, good clearance recommended. 3   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
Easy 4WD to the restrooms. 4WD to the upper TH.

Driving Directions

Take US 550 to Ouray. 1/4 mile south of town, turn west onto Country Road (CR) 361 (2WD, Dirt) toward Yankee Boy Basin and start measuring mileage from this point. Your mileage may vary slightly, but the following list describes the turns and milestones:
  • 4.6 miles: Stay right on CR 26.
  • 5.2 miles: The road is cut into the cliffs like a "C" so there is rock hanging over the road.
  • 5.9 miles: Stay right on CR 26 at the junction for Imogene Pass.
  • 6.7 miles: Stay right at the junction for Governor Basin. The remaining drive is 4WD and 2WD cars should park at or near this junction.
  • 7.5 miles: Reach the lower "trailhead" where there's a restroom.
Driving beyond this point requires high-clearance 4WD
  • 100 yards after the restroom parking area, pass a large rock and stay right at a junction.
  • 8.0 miles: Stay right.
  • 8.2 miles: There's a sign that recommends only 4WD, high-clearance, short-wheelbase. 4WD vehicles can continue another mile to the signed, upper trailhead at 12,460'.

Winter Access

Usually closed low on the road.
Status Updates 
Posted By: Chicago Transplant
Info: Road is dry until about 1/2 mile above the Wrights Lake Spur trailhead (appx 12,200‘).
At this point there is a "road closed" sign. This seems to suggest the uppermost part of the road is permanently closed, but it is not gated at this time.
Posted By: javy20040
Info: The road is free snow until the restroom. 2 wd cars can drive until 6.8 miles where is the first small paring area. 4 wd cars can drive to the trailhead at the mileage 7.8.
Posted By: realhillboarding
Info: 2wd cars can make it 6.8 miles up the road to the Yankee Boy Basin sign, beyond that high clearance and 4wd (preferably low gear) are necessary. The road is snowed in at the outhouse 7.7 miles up the road. When we arrived on 5/6/09, the road was in far better shape than when we left on 5/11/09 because the road was rapidly eroding due to snowmelt. We were driving a stock Tacoma and occasionally scraped lightly when crossing the waterbars.
Posted By: thetoddman
Info: Two large trees have fallen and completely block the road about 1/2 mile below the restroom. Each tree is 18-24 inches in diameter so moving them is not an option. Another large tree is also down and across the road less than 1/2 mile above the restroom.
Posted By: MUni Rider
Info: I Drove my ‘07 Toyota Yaris up to the 2wd Restroom TH on 3 SEP 08. Everyone kept asking if it was a rental. I had to stop and stack rocks at one point, but I made it with zero frame bumps, but did smack a wheel rim once, (it‘s fine). No other cars there, but a bunch of jeeps, and SUV and the 4x4 tours joined me the next day. It‘s a hell of a road for a 2wd car. It was dry, otherwise I‘d been walking.
Posted By: E-dorvs
Info: On Tuesday 7/22 a couple of jeeps had plowed through (and beat the hell out of) the remaining snow that was blocking the road to the upper trailhead. However, on our hike out, we also watched as one Jeep got stuck. This should speed the melting and it should be fully open soon.
Posted By: Matt
Info: The road is clear to maybe 0.2 miles of the end, where snow blocks the way. We only had to walk a few switchbacks and maybe 100 ft of vertical.
Posted By: Carl
Info: Road is closed at the parking area a little above 11,400ft as of July 4th. Snow shortly after the gate would block passage anyway.
Posted By: roozers42
Info: Road is plowed to the outhouse and is in pretty decent condition. Lots of snow in the basin after that.
Posted By: gb
Info: The road is now nearly open to the outhouse.
Posted By: s_tuning
Info: The road is open to the Ruby mine at the intersection of County Rd 26 and County Rd 26a. (About 10,300) The plowing is ongoing.
Posted By: Jcwhite
Info: Road is closed at or around 9700 ft due to snow. It might be a while if they dont plow it. This is 4 mi below the top.
Posted By: kyle_doughty
Info: Road is open all the way to the high trail head. Road is in decent shape.
Posted By: Hawkeye
Info: The road is now open and clear of snow all the way to the TH.
Posted By: WillyGoat
Info: I did Sneffels today (5.19.07) and the road is open to the solar outhouse, which I believe is 11,400’. A 4x4 is recommended as there is a lot of water running on the road.
Posted By: ADKben
Info: Passable with high-clearance vehicle all the way to the top of the basin; Snow completely gone.
Posted By: Hawkeye
Info: On 06-20-06 the road is clear slightly past the Blue Lakes TH, about one mile before the Sneffels TH. You may make it thru the one patch on snow blocking the road to the TH in the mornig, but wouldn’t suggest trying to get thru after the sun has been on it.
Posted By: Jcwhite
Info: Sorry, mest up, its open til 11,400 where the restroom is.
Posted By: Jcwhite
Info: I busted down the last couple snowbanks a couple nights ago, and with decent clearance you can get all the way to the top of the road.
Posted By: s_tuning
Info: Road closed (temporarily?) by the Forest Service due to the recent storms.
Posted By: sisyphus
Info: 6-17-05: Road is clear to the outhouse just above 11,000 feet. Just beyond the outhouse, the road has raging torrents of water, and in some places, the road is totally under water. Snow begins about 1/2 mile from the outhouse, and at least one jeep made it this far to park.
Posted By: doumall
Info: Still open to 11,200 (solar powered outhouse). High clearance is needed to get further than a few miles up CR361.
Posted By: cjw
Info: Open to solar powered outhouse, ~11,200
Posted By: s_tuning
Info: The road to Yankee Boy is open to the Ruby mine, about one mile from the trailhead.
Posted By: s_tuning
Info: Road is passable by 2WD to about 3 miles. I made it to 6.2 with my 4WD. Forest Service is plowing the last 2 miles and says that the road will be open all the way to Yankee Boy Basin by Firday, 5-20-05.

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