Hiking Mount Yale | A Fine Colorado Training 14er

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Mt Yale, one of the collegiate peaks, rises high above the Arkansas River Valley. There are two routes up the mountain, each with accessible trailheads year-round. This makes it a good training peak for more difficult hikes and climbs. With lots of camping in the area, it’s a great opportunity to stay and climb several Sawatch 14ers in one trip. I recommend a visit to Buena Visita following your trip for a cold beer and a good meal. Start planning your adventure with this free Mount Yale Route Guide.

NEW TO 14ERS? CHECK OUT MY BEGINNERS GUIDE FOR A SAFE FIRST SUMMIT!

Hiking Mount Yale: Fast Facts

Hiking Mount Yale - Southwest Slopes Route

Your trip hiking Mount Yale will begin at the Denny Creek Trailhead. From the parking lot, take the well-built trail along Denny Creek up the drainage. Eventually, come to a small bridge to cross to the other side of the creek. It’s no challenge, though trek poles may be helpful. Continue right.

As you begin to climb out of the valley below, enjoy a well-constructed trail thanks to the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative. Dip in and out of tree line and be wary of small patches of snow on the trail in the fall and spring months.

Once above treeline, swing around on the trail before approaching a steep pitch. This slope includes several switchbacks that take you up to Mt Yale’s ridgeline. Take your time up what is essentially the crux of hiking Mount Yale. Please don’t cut the switchbacks here, as it damages the fragile alpine tundra.

Once on the ridge, look to the right to see the remainder of your route. From here, the trail shifts to scrambling and requires more handwork as you go. This is a good place to check the weather conditions before continuing hiking Mount Yale to the summit.

Follow cairns as you move up the summit ridge, moving around any outcrops or drop-offs that come up on the ridge itself. Stay more to the right of the ridge to avoid exposure on the left side. 

Once you make it to the top, enjoy the accomplishment! Eat a sandwich and get that summit picture. Make sure you head back down with enough time to avoid afternoon thunderstorms above the tree line. I hope you enjoyed this Mt Yale Route Guide. Good luck hiking Mount Yale, and safe travels on the trail.

Mt Yale Route Guide

Anyone hiking Mount Yale should have a good topographical map of the route with them. I highly recommend downloading it on your phone and printing out a paper backup copy if anything happens to your electronics along the climb.

Mt Yale Route Guide

Before hiking Mount Yale you should check the weather forecast several times using several different sources. Check for temperature, precipitation, major storm systems, and wind. Here are several dependable weather sources to get started with.

Mountain Forecast for Mt Yale

NOAA Forecast for Mt Yale

Mt Yale Route Guide

Hiking Mount Yale is an inherently high-risk activity – do so at your own risk, and use the following best practices to help keep yourself safe.

  1. Bring the Ten Essentials and the knowledge/skill to use them.
  2. Leave your plans with someone back home along with a detailed itinerary.
  3. Start early, and end early: Be back at tree line by noon to avoid lightning.
  4. Check the weather forecast and stay home during inclement weather.
  5. Research your route and bring a compass & topographic map.

NEW TO 14ERS? CHECK OUT MY BEGINNERS GUIDE FOR A SAFE FIRST SUMMIT!

Hiking Mount Yale is an inherently high-risk, dangerous activity. There is a significant risk of injury or death, even with proper planning and experience. Those using my My Yale Route Guide accept all risks associated with climbing 14ers and do not hold this website or any information they obtain from it liable for any accidents or injuries that occur while engaging in these activities on Colorado’s high peaks. It is each hiker or climber’s responsibility to research their route carefully, bring the ten essentials, and practice other safe practices, though even these precautions do not eliminate risk and danger. Visit these summits at your own risk.

Alex Derr

Alex is an Eagle Scout and mountaineer living in Denver, Colorado. He created The Next Summit to help others stay safe exploring the mountains and advocate to preserve the peaks for the future. You can subscribe to his Next Summit Newsletter here.

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