Yankee Boy Basin Trailhead
Added by BillMiddlebrook

Location:  San Juan Mountains
14ers Served:  Mt. Sneffels
Road Type:  Easy 4WD, good clearance recommended. 3   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
Easy 4WD to the restrooms. 4WD to the upper TH.
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. Start measuring mileage from the start of this road. Your mileage may vary slightly, but the following list describes the turns and milestones:
- At 3 miles: The road has some shelf sections with exposure to the left.
- 4.7 miles: Stay right on CR 26.
- 5.3 miles: The road is cut into the cliffs like a "C" so there is rock hanging over the road.
- 6.1 miles: Stay right on CR 26 at the junction for Imogene Pass.
- 6.3 miles: Pass through the empty Sneffels townsite.
- 6.8 miles: Stay right and pass a Yankee Boy Basin info sign.
- 6.9 miles: Stay right onto the "853 1B" road. The remaining drive is 4WD and 2WD cars should park below this junction.
- 7.7 miles: Reach the lower "trailhead" where many people park. There is a restroom here.
Driving beyond this point requires 4WD
- 100 yards after the restroom parking area, pass a large rock and stay right at a junction.
- 8.2 miles: Stay right.
- 8.5 miles: The road gets much worse after this point and there’s a sign that recommends only 4WD, high-clearance, short-wheelbase.
- 4WD vehicles (short wheelbase, good clearance, 4WD low) can continue another mile to the signed, upper trailhead at 12,460’.
Winter Access:  Usually closed low on the road.
14er Trailheads on Google Maps
Date Status Information Posted By  Photos  Comments Likes Dislikes    
2015-09-27 A subaru could probably make it up to the sign that recommends high clearance/short wheel base about a mile from the trailhead. I drove up in a Toyota Sequoia and made it to that spot just fine. I attempted the rougher part in the dark but chickened out b/c I didn‘t feel like messing up my ride in the dark. A beautiful drive with the aspens changing. addrock528         
2015-09-13 2wd passenger cars can easily make it to the Governor Basin Rd/Yankee Boy Basin Rd junction at 10,800. It‘s a bit steeper, and there‘s more rocks before the bathroom lot, but most SUVs can make it there. At the upper TH, I saw several large pickups, a few jeeps, an Explorer, a couple 4Runners, and.. a Subaru sedan! The couple who drove the sedan said that they did scrape some, and that it‘s not as nice as their other car. But it is possible to bring a sedan to the upper TH apparently. It is fairly steep, and has lots of rock. (I walked from the junction at 10,800, so I didn‘t pay as much attention to road specifics as I otherwise would have) bdloftin77         
2015-08-29 My tires were overdue to be changed but in an attempt to get up toward the upper trailhead I ended up getting two flat tires. I believe this may be an isolated incident and many other cars can probably make it up to the upper trailhead but I figured I would give the warning that there are some sharp rocks that my car did not like. In my second attempt I did not go past the lower trailhead. jgar15         
2015-08-28 I took my Nissan Xterra to the upper trailhead. High clearance, 4WD and some experience can get you there. There were also 2 and 4 door Jeeps and a Toyota 4-Runner at the upper trailhead. KarenG         
2015-08-11 Good conditions up to the start of the "853 1B" road. From there, things deterioriate a bit, including one deep spot about a quarter mile up. Several cars had parked below this point. Others, including a Honda Odyssey mini-van skirted by on the far left hand side and made it to the lower trailhead. Jeeps and other high clerance vehicles did fine. Misi197         
2015-07-28 Made the ride up just below the lower TH of Yankee Boy just past Governor Basin road that morning at 7:00 a.m. CR 361 just off of 550 was fine for 2WD passenger cars all the way up past the overhanging rock wall even after the rain the night before. After you pass the old Sneffels town site and see the 853-1B road sign to head right, 2WD cars should not go any further and heed the sign that say‘s 4WD High Clearance vehicles only. If you proceed further, you‘ll encounter a number of wash-outs, dips, and high points that are just too much for low clearance and long wheel base vehicles. If you decide to go further, past the warning sign, there is a small parking area on the left for a few cars, and about a few hundred more feet up are the toilets, and more parking. After scraping, and bottoming out my Chevy suburban several times, I had had enough and stopped just below the toilets. I knew it was going to happen, so between having the gas tank only with about a 1/4 tank, and having everyone get out of the car, we made it. Ha! I think next time, I‘ll see if we can rent a jeep out of Ouray, or contract with one of those companies that have the ATV‘s that will run you up to the Upper TH. It was quite a thrill ride, but summiting Sneffels that day was better! One of the attached pictures will show our Long/Lat & Elev. close to where we started the hike. jmjr2k  2  1      
2015-07-23 there was a big ass raccoon chewing up my car. I hit it twice with my trekking pole but still came back. so I peed around my car but didn‘t work. eventually I moved my car in the middle of the lot. I will spray animal repellant or habanero sauce underneath my car next time. kenichi4692         
2015-06-15 Beware the marmots! They‘ll eat your car overnight. I had to fend them off periodically throughout the night. Wish I had remembered this can be a problem this time of year and brought a tarp. meg383         
2015-06-14 See 2 pictures. As below, the road is snow free to the outhouse. Leaving this area there is a road closed sign. Lots of snow remaining between the outhouse and the upper Yankee Boy Basin TH. Eagle Eye  2       
2015-06-07 Snow-free to the outhouse mojah         
2015-05-20 The road was in good condition up to 6.9 from the milage start. Snow drifts from 6.9 to the summer TH. Solid coverage from the TH. Crews are working on CR 26 right now. Construction delays were not significant. Slide indicators covered most aspects. Roller ball and loose slides above most terrain traps. Consolidating very soon! WillRobnett  3       
2015-05-01 Road has been plowed and is open up to the bathroom parking lot trailhead. Leopard233         
2014-09-05 any katy23         
2014-08-25 Beware of porcupines around the outhouse for the 2wd trailhead. Dealt with one from 1:15am-2:15am chewing on the undercarraige before driving 1/2 mile up the 4wd road. 2 left ft         
2014-08-08 Took my stock 2003 Toyota 4Runner to get to the upper trailhead. Certainly was the hardest trail the SUV could handle. Experienced at offroading was required to take something as low as a 4Runner up (anything less than 8.5-9 inches of clearance won‘t work; I wouldn‘t take my 2001 Nissan Pathfinder up this trail). Had one section we had to use a bypass (shortly after the lower parking lot, there is a left through a puddle and straight up a hill - I made it about 50 yards up the hill before I encountered obstacles requiring much more clearance). Started Sneffels around 5:30a and found ourselves at the snow patch in the steep gully around 7a. Had to wait until about 8:30a for the sun to reach the gully and soften up the snow - the footholds were crap if you didn‘t have microspikes. Would be helpful to have helmets and microspikes. For the sake of all, PLEASE call out loose rocks you drop down to us below - just common sense! Flock14         
2014-07-11 There was a patch of snow that blocked the road at 12,200\‘ that could only be crossed with ATVs or sufficient knobby tires. Due to our efforts getting our Landrover unstuck after two hours, the snow had completely melted by the end of the day. The TH is now clear to the top for more normal 4WD cars. ezabielski         
2014-06-15 We were able to drive a Jeep about half a mile past the restrooms until we had to stop because of a snow drift. The snow is melting fast, though. esagas         
2014-06-08 No snow on the road to the 2WD TH, but there are a few tricky sections where streams have cut deep ditches across the road. I took them slow and still lightly dragged my hitch on the ground (Xterra Pro-4X). Longer wheelbase and low clearances vehicles can still make it, just take it slow. Plenty of snow on the road past the 2WD TH (I had to pull a guy out of the snow just past the big rock). If you plan to sleep in your vehicle at the TH, beware of an aggressive porcupine! I woke up at 11:30 to the sounds of a rodent trying to eat the undercarriage of my truck. I spent the rest of the night running him off (mothball crystals under the vehicle did not deter him). Lesson learned: don‘t be the only vehicle parked at the TH. KTC88    3      
2014-05-18 Same as previous - good 2wd to the Imogene turnoff, rough 2wd to the Governor turnoff, and high clearance recommended up to the bathrooms. A loader went to town on the upper road - rougher condition and deeper channels than I remembered. Monster5  1       
2014-05-15 Road has been plowed and is open to the outhouse about 7.5 miles from HWY 550. The road up to the Yankee Boy/Governor‘s Basin fork is excellent and may be traveled by any vehicle. Past that, high clearance 4WD suggested. All of Yankee Boy is 100% snowcovered. Spring snow conditions up to 12,000‘. Wentzl  4       
2013-11-02 The road was plowed to the mine at ~10600‘ as of 11/2. I drove my 4Runner to the Y junction at 10760‘. The road was tracked later in the day to the 2WD TH, but the next major storm may close the road to the Senator Gulch winter closure 9200‘, although not sure how long they plow to the mine. Kevin Baker         
2013-10-20 Had to fight and claw my way to the 2WD TH in a Nissan Xterra in 4Lo. Anything past that will require a snowmobile or an ATV at this point. Somewhat of a Prick         
2013-09-24 drove a chevy impala to the 853 1B sign, maybe a little farther. walked on the road to the wrights lake spur. the road was clear and mostly dry. many, many 4WD went on to the upper trail head and returned. Moboy56         
2013-09-23 Morning after 9/22/13 snow, the ~4-6" of snow on the road kept us from going beyond the 853 1B Road junction (~.7 miles below the lower TH), where there is room for several cars to park. We were in a 2WD Toyota Venza. High clearance rental Jeeps made it easily through the snow to the Lower TH, and there were tracks in the snow from modified 4WD Jeeps to the upper TH. jchapell         
2013-09-05 Overall, the road is in very good shape. There were several landslides (one big) from the rain but they were almost cleared today. Although the road is relatively smooth, you need short wheelbase because there are many deep dips where the small streams cross. Even with an XTerra, my nose almost scraped. Just past the large rock in the route description, there is a difficult obstacle where a creek crosses. If you get past it, the road is fairly good to the very top (for truck-based vehicles). It didn‘t seem as bad as the route description said. I did not try to get past the obstacle and parked after ‘the rock‘ (just past the second restroom TH). zsmith         

The outhouse at the Yankee Boy Basin. (Added by: warg on 2008-06-06)Driving down Yankee Boy Basin, just below the "road closed" sign (7/3/ (Added by: Aubrey on 2009-07-07)

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