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Yankee Boy Basin - 13 Things to Know Before Visiting

Outdoors- Other
1 Day Treks

About Yankee Boy Basin

Yankee Boy Basin is a true hidden gem. Surrounded by towering peaks, the basin is home to a number of alpine lakes, waterfalls, and trickling streams. In addition to its natural beauty, Yankee Boy Basin is also known for its vibrant wildflower displays. From late July through August, the basin comes alive with color as a variety of blooms come into bloom. Hiking and camping are popular activities in the basin, and there are a number of trails to explore.

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Hotels near Yankee Boy Basin

Checkout accommodations closest to Yankee Boy Basin

Things to Do at Yankee Boy Basin

There’s no shortage of things to do at Yankee Boy Basin in Ouray County, Colorado. In the summer months, hikers and mountain bikers can explore the countless trails that wind through the area. For a more leisurely activity, there’s plenty of fishing to be had in the many streams and lakes. And of course, no visit to Yankee Boy Basin would be complete without taking a dip in one of the many natural hot springs. In the winter, the area transforms into a playground for skiers and snowboarders, with several lifts and runs to choose from. No matter what time of year you visit, Yankee Boy Basin is sure to have something for everyone.

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History of Yankee Boy Basin

Yankee Boy Basin is located in Ouray County, Colorado. The area was first inhabited by the Ute Indians, who named it "Tabeguache," meaning "the gathering place." The first Europeans to visit the area were Spanish explorers, who arrived in the 18th century. They named the area "El Rio de las Animas Perdidas," or "River of Lost Souls." In the 19th century, the area was settled by ranchers and miners. The town of Ouray was established in 1876, and Yankee Boy Basin soon became a popular destination for tourists. Today, the Basin is known for its scenic beauty and its abundance of wildflowers. Every summer, thousands of visitors come to hike, camp, and photograph the colorful flowers that blanket the hillsides.

Best Time to Visit Yankee Boy Basin

The best time to visit Yankee Boy Basin is during the summer months. From June to August, the weather is warm and dry, making it ideal for hiking and camping. The area is also very popular with photographers, as the beautiful wildflowers are in bloom during this time of year. 

Tips for Visiting Yankee Boy Basin

  1. The road is narrow and winding, so take it slow and enjoy the scenery.
  2. Plan your visit for the offseason. Yankee Boy Basin is a popular destination for wildflower enthusiasts, but the crowds can make it difficult to enjoy the scenery. Fall and winter are quieter times to visit, and the views are just as stunning.
  3. Get an early start. The best way to avoid the crowds is to arrive at the trailhead before sunrise. Not only will you have the place to yourself, but you can also enjoy the tranquility of the morning hours.
  4. Stay on designated trails. Help protect the fragile ecosystems of the basin by sticking to designated trails and avoiding sensitive areas.
  5. Leave your pet at home. Pets are not allowed in the Yankee Boy Basin due to the sensitive nature of the area.

Interesting Facts and Trivias About Yankee Boy Basin

  1. Yankee Boy Basin gets its name from a legend about a young boy who got lost in the area while chasing a rabbit. He was eventually found safe and sound, but the name stuck.
  2. The basin is home to several alpine lakes, including Blue Lake, which is one of the deepest lakes in Colorado.
  3. Yankee Boy Basin is home to some of the tallest waterfalls in the state, including cascades that plunge more than 400 feet.
  4.  Despite its remote location, the basin was a bustling mining community in the late 19th century, with more than 100 mines in operation at its peak.
  5. Visitors can camp overnight in the basin at one of three primitive campgrounds or at a backcountry site with a permit from the Ouray Ranger District office.

How Much Time Did Visitors Spend at Yankee Boy Basin

In order to really explore Yankee Boy Basin and experience all it has to offer, you should plan on spending at least a full day there. Depending on how much ground you want to cover, you may even need two days.

How to Reach Yankee Boy Basin

To reach Yankee Boy Basin, Ouray County, Colorado, take Highway 550 northbound from Ouray. After approximately 3.5 miles, you will see a sign for the basin on the right side of the road. Take the turnoff and follow the dirt road for another 1.5 miles until you reach the basin.

Entrance Fee of Yankee Boy Basin

The cost of entrance into Yankee Boy Basin is $5 per person. 

Opening Hours of Yankee Boy Basin

The Basin is open to the public from dawn until dusk. 

Attractions Near Yankee Boy Basin

Cirque Mountain

Cirque Mountain

1km from Yankee Boy Basin

Cirque Mountain is a spectacular sight in Ouray County, Colorado. It's highest peak, promise Peak, soars to 12,795 feet and offers amazing views of the San Juan Mountains. The mountain is home to a variety of wildlife, including bighorn sheep and elk. There are also a number of hiking trails that wind through the area, making it the perfect place to explore the great outdoors. Whether you're looking for a challenging hike or a scenic vista, Cirque Mountain is sure to impress.

Teakettle Mountain

Teakettle Mountain

1.48km from Yankee Boy Basin

Teakettle Mountain is one of the most popular hiking destinations in Ouray County. The trailhead is located just outside the town of Ouray, and the hike to the summit is a moderate 4 miles. Along the way, hikers are treated to stunning views of the surrounding mountains, as well as some of the area's unique wildlife. Teakettle Mountain is also home to a large number of wildflowers, and in early summer, the trail is lined with blooming cactus.

Mount Sneffels

Mount Sneffels

1.52km from Yankee Boy Basin

Mount Sneffels is a popular mountain peak in Ouray County, Colorado. The peak is named after the SNF power plant in nearby Ridgway, Colorado. Mount Sneffels is known for its dramatic views, particularly of the San Juans. The summit can be reached via a challenging hike or an easier scramble. There are also several technical routes up the peak for experienced climbers. Mount Sneffels is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, and it's easy to see why.

Gilpin Peak

Gilpin Peak

1.72km from Yankee Boy Basin

Gilpin Peak is one of the many Colorado mountain peaks that provides stunning views of the surroundings. The peak is located in Ouray County and has an elevation of 14,028 feet. The best time to summit Gilpin Peak is from late June to early September when the snow has melted and the weather is stable. To reach the summit, hikers can take the East Ridge trail which starts at the South Mineral Campground. The hike is approximately eight miles round trip and provides a moderate level of difficulty

Potosi Peak

Potosi Peak

2.56km from Yankee Boy Basin

Potosi Peak is a popular destination for hikers and climbers in Ouray County, Colorado. The peak is located in the San Juan Mountains, just north of the town of Ouray. The trail to the summit of Potosi Peak begins at the Ouray Trailhead and winds its way up through a variety of terrain, including forests, meadows, and rocky areas. The hike to the summit is a strenuous one, but it is rewarded with spectacular views of the surrounding mountains.

Governor Basin

Governor Basin

2.58km from Yankee Boy Basin

Governor Basin is a scenic valley located in Ouray County. Surrounded by towering peaks, the basin is home to a variety of wildlife, including elk, deer, bighorn sheep, and eagles. Fishing and camping are popular activities in the area, and the Governor Basin Trailhead provides access to a network of hiking trails. In winter, the basin is a popular destination for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Governor Basin is also home to several hot springs, which are open to the public year-round.

Discover More Attractions in Ouray County, Home of Yankee Boy Basin

Ouray County

Ouray County

31 attractions

Ouray County is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts, offering something for everyone regardless of their preferred activity. In the winter, skiers and snowboarders flock to the county's slopes, while in the summer months hikers and climbers take to the mountains. There are also ample opportunities for jeeping, fishing, horseback riding, and more.

Location of Yankee Boy Basin