The Mount Sneffels hike is not for the faint of heart, nor is it for beginners, for those who are seasoned hikers looking to summit a fourteener this is definitely one for the bucket list!
Beginning at the top of Yankee Boy Basin, and accessing the trail head by way of Wright Lake, between the wildflowers and the rest of the scenery, it seems this was the perfect day for an adventure in the high country!
Once on the trail to the top of this famous fourteener, the path becomes a little bit more technical, as shale is replaced by a field of boulders. but still the flowers are blooming wherever they can.
Reaching the summit, all of the climbing pays off. This view is close to impossible to capture on film. Nothing quite compares to standing at the top of a daunting mountain, surveying the world below.
To reach the Mount Sneffels trail head, travel south from Ouray on Highway 550 to County Road 361 (Camp Bird Road). About 4 and a half miles up this road is the turn off for Yankee Boy Basin. At this point, unless you are driving a four wheel drive vehicle, there are areas to park your car. Those with high clearance four wheel drive vehicles may continue to the parking area at the toilets at Yankee Boy Basin. The road continues up another half mile or so, but may be closed to vehicles.
Starting from the trail head, you cannot see Mt. Sneffels until you are up in the high basin. On the trail from Wright’s Lake, you will reach a junction where the Blue Lakes Trail goes left to the Pass; turn right for about an eighth of a mile east to a cairn at the Sneffels turnoff going north.
If you approach Sneffels by the road, instead of the trail described above, the road ends after a mile. Continue on the trail heading toward the Blue Lakes Trail Pass. Go a half-mile to the cairn marking the Sneffels turnoff to the right.
From the cairn, continue toward the saddle between Sneffels (left) and Kismet (right). At the saddle, check the weather again since you can now see to the north. If conditions are beginning to deteriorate, this is a good place to consider waiting for a better day.
From the saddle, go left (northwest) up a steep narrow gully, which may have snow it it. Climb almost to the top of the couloir where a notch opens to the left. Observe the location of the notch for your descent. You will come out on a ridge which leads you up to the summit. The final stretch of 650 feet requires some proficiency in minor rock climbing–and caution.
Be aware of rocks rolling from above and be careful not to dislodge any yourself. Do not linger on the summit–leave time to descend with care. Falls are more dangerous coming down.
Even if you aren’t interested in summiting a fourteener, portions of this hike are suited to all levels of outdoors enthusiasts. As always, be sure to check the weather and have a friend with you. Don’t forget layers, as it can get a little chilly at 14,000 feet, and definitely bring your sunscreen!