Mount Yale Summit Trail

HARD 66 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
10 days 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
14 days 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
14 days ago

hiking
16 days ago

16 days 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
19 days 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
24 days 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.

28 days 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.

hiking
29 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

1 month ago

This is NOT 7.8 miles like indicated here. It's more like 9.4. A big portion of the top is scramble thru big rocks.
The road is paved all the way to the TH.
The trail runs next (and across several times) a river so there is plenty of water for refill (will probably need to treat it)
Crossing the river over logs can be fun .. or not! :)

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

In Colorado on vacation from Michigan and wanted to do one big hike so we decided to do Yale. After summiting and completing I can honestly say it was one of the coolest things I've ever done, along with the most challenging physical wise. I'm 18 years old and work out regularly and this hike kicked my ass, so be ready to push your limits especially in the final stretch. I recorded the hike to be about 10 miles long from the Denny creek trail head. Overall amazing experience, itching to do more!

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

1 month ago

Great long hike!! Holy crap, my wife is still tired from the trail a couple days ago. We started at 3:30 and made good time. Excellent trail, but be sure to use gps to figure out which streams to cross, there are lots of side trails.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Just did this hike today and it was awesome. We took the Southwest route. 12 miles from Buena Vista on a paved road. Park at Denny Creek Trailhead. Bathroom is at Trailhead if you need it. This is not an easy hike but a good challenge that's for sure. We loved it. We hit the trail at 6am and it took us 3hrs 45 mins to summit. The first couple of hours are on a beautiful trail through the forest. You do cross several streams. Above timberline, it starts to get steep and there's definitely some Spider-Man scrambling to get to the top. No flag or plaque at summit so bring a sign for pics. We spent 20 mins at the summit enjoying the view and lunch, then another 3 hours to get down, which was surprising since I felt we booked it down. So 7 hours total. It was legit!

Also, our Garmin watches said it was nearly 10 miles. Couldn't believe all the people still coming up as we were going down. I would not start later than 7am, 6am or earlier is better.

hiking
1 month ago

Just gorgeous! We're from Arkansas, and this was our first hike in high elevation. We didn't quite make it to the top before the altitude got to us. We did make it well passed the timber line, and we were simply blown away by the views. We highly recommend this trail, even if you can't quite make it to the summit.

hiking
1 month ago