Scenic USA - Colorado

Yankee Boy Basin

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Yankee Boy Basin - Mount Sneffels Wilderness Area, Colorado

Photos by Susan Rovira
Susan Rovira Photography

   Although looking quick and easy on paper (a Colorado map), the shortest route between Telluride and Ouray, via Yankee Boy Basin, is definitely not the quickest. But if you're up to a breathtaking journey, the four-wheeling drive over Imogene Pass Road can be full of excitement. Here among the San Juan Mountain peaks, old mining operations, waterfalls, wildlife, steep mountain roads and grand scenery offer a great introduction to the Mount Sneffels Wilderness backcountry.
   Most accounts to Yankee Boy Basin suggest starting out in Ouray, where the climb is just a little more civilized. Snow may linger in the higher elevations until the first days of summer, it's then Yankee Boy Basin comes alive with color. This may be the best time to explore this backcountry route, although the first few weeks of autumn have plenty to offer.
   Those with exploration on their Yankee Boy Basin in Autumn - Ouray, Colorado minds may be seen poking around old mines, panning for gold in mountain streams, recording their climb on video, enjoying Twin Falls on Sneffels Creek and taking in the signature Rocky Mountain scenery.
     Even if you're not into four-wheeling and no desire to push the envelope, most cars may venture as far as the Camp Bird Mine. Following the Yankee Boy Basin signs from Ouray, you're into this backcountry route for approximately five miles.
   If you can't go, reading about this adventure is the next best thing. There are a number accounts and videos on-line. And with a little imagination you too can smell that crisp mountain air, dabble your feet in a Rocky Mountain stream, and enjoy the incredible scenery as in this remarkable Yankee Boy Basin scene.

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