COVID-19: At REI, we encourage you to get outside responsibly. Stay local, avoid recreational travel, practice social distancing and check ahead for area and facility closures. Learn More
Trail Run Project Logo

Mt. Yale

Intermediate

Trail

8.8 mile 14.1 kilometer out and back
57% Runnable
Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 4,260' 1,298 m
Descent: -4,259' -1,298 m
High: 14,177' 4,321 m
Low: 9,917' 3,023 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 18% (10°)
Max Grade: 62% (32°)

Dogs

Leashed
Driving directions Take a virtual tour
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Trail shared by Tyler Prince

Perhaps the easiest and one of the most scenic collegiate 14ers.

Tyler Prince

Features Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

State highway 306 is closed in winter just outside of Buena Vista.

Overview

A beautiful route in the heart of the Collegiate Peaks, Mt. Yale offers a great trip for hikers and runners alike. Easier than neighboring Harvard and Columbia, shorter than Belford and Oxford, and more of a real run than the off-roaded Mt. Princeton, Mt. Yale defines the Sawatch experience.

Need to Know

While an easier Sawatch peak, this is still a 14er. Bring plenty of water and sun protection. Due to its situation near Twin Lakes and other peaks, some runners claim that Mt. Yale gets more precipitation than other nearby 14ers - so bring rain gear, too. Fast hikers can expect 4 hrs round trip; slower hikers 8.

Runner Notes

With an excellent trail, gentle grades relative to other 14ers, and a round trip under 10 miles, this is perhaps one of the best Sawatch 14ers for ambitious runners. Fast runners can expect 2.5-3 hrs round trip.

Description

From US 24 in the center of Buena Vista, drive west on County Road 306. Drive 12 miles to reach the Denny Creek Trailhead on your right. There is ample parking here. It will be paved the entire way, making this track a good choice if you're limited by your vehicle.

From the Denny Creek Trailhead, head up this excellent trail with easy to moderate grade. While easy to follow, this trail has a fair number of rocks and roots, so be careful. In 1.2 miles, turn right, up the Mt. Yale Trail (staying straight would take you up Brown's Pass). There should be a sign at this junction.

Continue up the trail through the forest. Eventually, you'll be running parallel to a stream. Cross the stream at 11,200 ft and continue through some small meadows on switchbacks as the trees begin to thin and the grade gets steeper. Reach tree line at 12,000 ft. Continue along excellent trail, passing by numerous boulders on either side of the path at the bottom of a basin. From here, the remainder of the route is visible. Work your way north before the trail winds to the right along some rocks. Continue up some steep switchbacks to reach a saddle just shy of 14,000 ft. Turn right and scramble along some easy, low-grade rocks to the summit, just another 200 ft up.

Stop, enjoy the view, and do it all backwards.

Flora & Fauna

With a lush forest down low, and plenty of wildflowers up top, this is a scenic run. Expect marmots and pika, and a good chance of mountain goats and deer.

History & Background

Ivy leaguers formerly had a tradition of carrying stones to the summit of their eponymous 14er so as to increase its elevation. Mt. Princeton, one foot higher than Yale, has thus been the bane of many a sore, stone-carrying Yalie.

Run this trail?

Is something wrong? Let us know. Have photos to share? Help fellow runners know what's here.

Contacts

Rate This Run

Rate Quality


   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Run

Check In

Check-Ins

Sep 2, 2017
Daniel Kinney
https://www.strava.com/activities/1164406908 9mi — 3h 06m
Jul 9, 2017
Deanna Jamison

Trail Ratings

  4.1 from 15 votes

#2104

Overall
  4.1 from 15 votes
5 Star
33%
4 Star
40%
3 Star
27%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Run Rankings

#286

in Colorado

#2,104

Overall
47 Views Last Month
3,386 Since Mar 19, 2015
Intermediate

0%
57%
43%
0%

Photos

Belford, Oxford, and Missouri from the summit of Mt. Yale.
Mar 19, 2015 near Buena V…, CO
Enjoying great views from Yale!
Apr 12, 2018 near Buena V…, CO
Awesome trail around tree line.
Mar 19, 2015 near Buena V…, CO

0 Comments

Trail Run Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Running