Mount Yale Summit Trail

HARD 78 reviews

Mount Yale Summit Trail is a 8.7 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Buena Vista, Colorado that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from July until September.

DISTANCE
8.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
4271 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

no dogs

From the fork the trail is fairly easy up until around 13,000 feet. From here follow the switch backs up to the saddle around 13,900. This area is steep and probably the most demanding part of the hike. Once you reach the saddle you have about 300 more feet of elevation gain which requires class 2 scrambling with options of class 3.

hiking
11 days ago

Hiked this mountain yesterday with my dad. Was my 12th and his 28th fourteener. Definitely a harder climb than any other mountain I've done. Started the trail at 5am with headlamps through the forest. Gets pretty difficult when the trail gets above tree line. Lots of steep switchbacks leading to the saddle and then boulder field beyond. Scrambling was super fun leading up to the summit. Overall, awesome views of the Three Apostles, Mt. Harvard, Mt. Columbia, and Mt. Princeton. Took us a little over 3 hours to summit but worth every second.

hiking
12 days ago

hiking
13 days ago

Great hike. It's definitely difficult in terms of steepness-- 4.5 miles and 4,500 feet. The last bit (maybe 500 meters) is a full scramble to the top. Gorgeous though, and it helps that the trailhead is so easily accessible. Perfectly paved roads all the way to the trailhead.

16 days ago

Camped out Sunday night at a pretty good spot a couple miles past the trailhead. Still managed to get a late start in the morning, but it didn't matter because the weather was perfect. Beautiful, but steep hike through the woods with great views of the changing aspens. However, as most have stated, Yale saves the toughest parts for last. The elevation gain is no joke. Well worth it for the views, and my 6th 14er!

19 days ago

hiking
23 days ago

My first 14er! Great experience. Loved the green forest area with the running creeks, dirt smells and cooler air. After the tree line I felt very exposed. Quite a steep hike until we reach the rocks. I gotta say I loved scaling the rocks. Takes me back to childhood and growing up around the desert buttes of my he Mohave desert.

I will definitely do it again.

24 days ago

Probably the most rewarding 14er I've done so far. Steep for the majority of the route, but the trail is well marked and gorgeous through the treeline. Above it was quite difficult for me at least, the steepness wearing out my legs. But the views from the top, and really throughout the whole hike, were to die for. I take away a star because there's no way this is 8.7 mi round trip, poor estimate.

hiking
25 days ago

26 days ago

A little over seven hours round trip in perfect weather conditions. Left the trailhead at 6:15am. Last 200 yards to the top a real challenge. The trail below timberline was awesome!

hiking
27 days ago

hiking
27 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

This was a great 14ier! The trail is well marked till you get to the rock pile. Then you scramble through the rocks. Beautiful scenery through the trees

hiking
1 month ago

My first 14er. A good all day hike with steep climbs, especially at the end. Don't let the relatively short distance fool you, this is a strenuous hike with a big climb in altitude. Not technical, but not easy. A lot of "mountain goat" scrambling across rocks to get to the top. Great views, quiet, not too many people (on a Tuesday morning), nice wildflowers. The trail is well marked for the most part, but easy to lose in a few places.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

1 month ago

Attempted to summit Yale yesterday. Started in the rain at about 6:30 and ended in the rain at 11:30 The trail is well maintained, and the views were stunning with the fog hanging at tree line among the peaks-a rare view for an early morning hike in Colorado. We made it to about 13,000 ft then turned back because the cold rain had soaked and exhausted us all. The trail was busy, even for a rainy day. Will be back for this one on a bluebird day in the future!

hiking
1 month ago

7/27/17 Hiked this today! Was my first 14er and it was awesome. It was way harder then expected. It took my brother and I about 8 hours. We took a lot of breaks. The trail is decently marked the whole way up. Make sure to try to use the bathroom before reaching the alpine zone/clearing. There aren't many good spots after that. Also, once you reach that, be prepared for the hardest part. Lots of stepping/climbing up rocks in the switchbacks which takes awhile till you reach the summit. Well worth the hike!

hiking
2 months ago

This 14er was awesome! Our first! The views once you get above the tree line are amazing. Definitely save your energy for the back end where the switchbacks are crazy hard. Once you get to the saddle you are basically there and have made it passed the hardest part. The boulder field at the end is more fun than hard just make sure you follow the markers so it isn't unnecessarily hard. We went up on a Sunday and it was VERY crowded so I recommend not doing that. Other than that it was awesome.

2 months ago

First 14er for me to climb. Beautiful and well marked trail all the way to the ridge. The switchbacks as you get to the top are definitely difficult. To reach the actual summit you have to climb across a lot of boulders. Very difficult to maneuver and not marked.