Location: San Juan Mountains
Directions: Outside Ouray, turnoff just out of town on Hwy. 550
Time: Allow 4-6 hours. About 18 miles from Telluride to Ouray.
You can start this trail at either end: From Yankee Boy Basin outside Ouray, or from downtown Telluride. I prefer starting in Telluride and ending up in Yankee Boy Basin, personally. From Downtown Telluride, take Aspen Street to Oak Street and it will turn into Tomboy Road and lead you up and out of Telluride, using a series of tight switchbacks. As you continue on the road, the views ahead of you will open up and you’ll get your first photo opp…
Photo Opp: Across the valley you will see a series of etches and switchbacks on a mountain…this is the infamous deadly switchbacks of Black Bear Pass.
As you continue, you will pass through a cool cutout in the rock. After about 4.5 miles you reach Savage Basin and the crumbled remains of the Tomboy mine and townsite. From here it can get confusing as to which road leads to the summit, but eventually, they ALL lead to the summit. You are driving on tallus rock now, so use your lowest gear and go slow.
You will wind your way down into Imogene Basin and will cross Imogene Creek several times, and each time is another photo opp! The scenery is stunning; waterfalls abound! Eventually you will come out into Yankee Boy Basin and you will turn right and take Camp Bird Road back into Ouray.