A 9 mile hike to a 14,196 foot vantage point of the scenic Collegiate Wilderness Peaks. 4,000 feet of vertical gain with wildflowers every step of the way and the chance to spot Yellow-Bellied Marmots and the threatened Pika.

This amazing adventure starts at 9,900 feet and goes up 4,300 feet over the course of a 9.5 mile round trip.

You will want to start at the Denny Creek Trailhead. If you are coming from Buena Vista or staying at the Collegiate Peaks Campground you will pass Denny Gulch and then Denny Creek. The parking lot for the trailhead is on your right just past Denny Creek.

The first couple of miles consist of shaded hiking through Aspen forests and indian paint brush patches while crossing Denny Creek a few times. About 1.5 miles in the trail splits to Brown Pass or the Summit of Mt. Yale. It is marked, but if in doubt stay to the right. You will begin cutting across to the west and you will descend a few hundred feet before beginning your final ascent.

Once you are above tree line, about 2.5 – 3 miles in, you will begin the steepest part of the hike and will be traveling through switchbacks. Keep your eyes open for marmots and pika around the boulders. They love this high alpine terrain.

Once you finish the switchbacks you will get to a landing that is about 200 feet from the summit. These last 200 feet are mostly hiking between boulders. Rock cairns mark the way up, but for the most part you will have to make your own path.

At the top of the summit there will be a rock marked the name and elevation of the peak. Most of the time, there is a stick where you can write your name and join the ranks of those who have conquered Yale.

Have your topo map handy at the top and take in the views of all the fourteen and thirteen thousand foot peaks around. The top offers an incredible view of the Buena Vista area and the Arkansas River. Also, take in the fact that you just conquered the namesake mountain of the alma mater of past presidents and smile when you think about the fact that the geologist that named Mt. Yale did so because of a miscalculation while thinking it was the highest peak in Colorado.

Pack List

  • Small Pack
  • Plenty of Water & Snacks
  • Hiking Shoes
  • Small First Aid Kit
  • Topo Map
  • Essential Ten
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RT Distance 9.5 Miles
Elevation Gain 4300 Feet
Activities Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Forest
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Moderate 14er

This peak can easily be done by intermediate hikers since the path is easy to follow with a gentle slope the majority of the way, and no free climbing or sketchy rock traversing. The view from top is absolutely stunning!


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