Yankee Boy Basin

Access to the Imogene Pass Road.

The twin waterfalls and wildflowers of Yankee Boy Basin near Ouray,Colorado.
Twin Waterfalls in Yankee Boy Basin

How to get there:

Head south out of Ouray. Near the end of the first switchback, turn right towards Camp Bird Mine and the falls. Drive past the falls entrance and follow the road towards the mine.

  • From US-550/6th St to the turn
  • 0.6 miles 1 min
  • GPS
  • Camp Bird Mine Rd
  • 38.0177 -107.6745

In General:4wd high clearance vehicle requiredCampgroundrock climbing

  • Length: 9.6 miles
  • Driving Time: min. 45 mins

The road to Camp Bird Mine is well maintained gravel. Here, the route becomes CR 26 and begins to take on the character of a 4wd road as it climbs up into the canyon, becoming progressively steeper and rougher. The upper reaches may challenge vehicles without lo range gearing.

Photo Ops:VistaswildflowersWaterfalls

header yankee boy basin P1000266
This is my favorite easy 4wd road in all of Colorado. The scenery is spectacular!
Camping in the two campgrounds only—no dispersed camping allowed along the route.

Mile 2.0 – Angel Creek CGCampground

8 designated campsites with tent pads and fire rings/grills. Port-a-potties available, no water.

Mile 2.7 – Thistledown CGCampground

9 designated campsites with tent pads and fire rings/grills. A vault restroom and trash service is available, no water.

Mile 4.7 – CR26 begins Scenic vistasWaterfallsWaterfalls

Climber scaling an "icicle" along the Yankee Boy Basin Rd near Ouray, Colorado.

Shortly after passing the Camp Bird Mine entrance, the road will climb onto a shelf with an area of cliffs on the north side. During the winter months, this is a world renowned area for ice climbing. Huge “icicles” are formed by springs above the cliffs and it is quite a sight to see climbers scaling the ice with a drop of several hundred feet into the canyon below. A fairly unique photo op!

The road travels under the cliff in a sort of tunnel; it’s open on the canyon side. At a pullout just after the “tunnel”, there is a very nice photo op looking back down the canyon with the stream cascading below you.

Mile 6.0 – Imogene Pass Road 4wd vehicle with low range requiredScenic vistasFlowers

CAUTION: Experienced drivers only. This somewhat difficult 4wd road is one of the top scenic routes in Colorado. Spectacular vistas, abundant summer wildflowers, and challenging obstacles (for stock vehicles) make it hard to beat!

Mile 6.9 – Governor Basin Rd 4wd vehicle with low range requiredScenic vistasFlowersHistorical mining remnants

CAUTION: Experienced drivers only. This somewhat difficult 4wd road switchbacks up and over a ridge along a narrow shelf road then down into Governor Basin. The basin is surrounded by a very jagged and rough ridge of peaks, the Saint Sophia Ridge. Very impressive! Great area for summer wildflowers also.

Mile 7.4 – Twin Waterfalls WaterfallsFall ColorsFlowers

Rumor has it that these waterfalls were the inspiration for those on the Coors beer label. Whether that is true or not, they are certainly photogenic!

Mile 8.6-9.6 – Blue Lakes TH Scenic vistasFall ColorsWildlifeHiking

You may or may not be able to drive to the TH; a chain gate may be closed. Blue Lakes Trail takes you up to Blue Lake Pass at 13,000 feet, where views of the Upper Blue Lake 1,270 feet below and the surrounding mountains are magnificent. If you begin at the TH, the distance to the top of the pass will be 1.0 mile with an elevation gain of 600 feet.

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