Summit Mt. Yale

Colorado Denny Creek Trail Head

Added by Chema Domenech

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
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More



Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:



Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:



9.5 Miles

Elev. Gain:

4300 Feet



Dog Friendly
Easy Parking

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

9 months ago

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!

9 months ago

Added by Chema Domenech

After working 3 years of being tied to a desk I decided quit my job and start chasing after the adventurer I always imagined I would be. I suffer from an ever present thirst to get outside.- Our truest self is when we are in dreams awake -

More Adventures Nearby

Hike Arthur's Rock in Lory State Park

Colorado / Arthur's Rock Trail trailhead

The climb to the summit of Arthur's Rock in Lory State Park provides relative isolation and solitude just 30 minutes from downtown Fort Collins along with great hiking, trail running, mountain biking.

Josiah Roe
3 Saves

Hike the Spearhead

Colorado / Glacier Gorge Trailhead

Beginning from the Glacier Gorge trailhead, follow trail signs towards Mills Lake. At Mills, continue onward past Black Lake, and then continue hiking up into the incredible basin above Black Lake.

Kyle Frost
3 Saves

Hike Mt. Elbert via Black Cloud Trail

Colorado / Black Cloud Trailhead

Directions:  Heading south from Leadville from U.S. 24: West on CO 82 for 10.5 miles to a hidden right turn that leads to a trail head. If you make it to the Mt.

Mike Stevens
2 Saves