Mt Yale Route Guide | A Fine Colorado 14er

Mt Yale, one of the collegiate peaks, rises high above the Arkansas River Valley. With two routes that are both easy and readily accessible from the highway, Yale is a mid-level summit great to bag in the more questionable spring and fall months when other peaks are snowed in. With lots of camping in the area, it’s a great opportunity to stay and climb several Sawatch 14ers in one trip. Start your planning with this Mt Yale Route Guide.


Mt Yale Route Guide Fast Facts

Mt Yale Route Guide - Southwest Slopes

This Mt Yale Route Guide begins 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 tree line, swing around on the trail before approaching a steep pitch. This slope includes a number of switchbacks that take you up to Mt Yale’s ridge line. Take your time up what is essentially the crux of this route.

Once on the ridge, look to the right to see the remainder of your route. From here the trail turns to scrambling and requires more hand work as you go. This is a good place to check the weather conditions before going for the summit.

Follow cairns as you move up the summit ridge, moving around any outcrops or drop offs that come up on the ridge proper. Stay more to the right of the ridge to avoid the 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 tree line. I hope you enjoyed this Mt Yale Route Guide.

Mt Yale Route Guide

My Mt Yale Route Guide includes this handy topographical map of the route and area. I highly recommend downloading it on your phone and printing out a paper backup copy in case anything happens to your electronics along the climb.

Mt Yale Route Guide

Reviewing this Mt Yale Route Guide is a good start, but you should also check weather forecasts several times before your climb. 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 & climbing 14ers 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.


Hiking, scrambling and climbing up Colorado’s high peaks are inherently high-risk, dangerous activities. 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.

About the Author: Alex Derr

Alex Derr is a mountaineer and blogger based in Denver Colorado. He is working to climb Colorado’s highest 100 peaks, and the 20 tallest peaks in California. He created The Next Summit to share advice, stories, history & reflections from the Colorado Rockies & Sierra Nevada. When not climbing, he is managing the Communications strategy at Visible Network Labs.