Colorado Wildflowers and Landscapes – the View from Yankee Boy Basin

August 3, 2014

Having to spend 6 weeks in the Rocky Mountains is a tough job, but I suppose someone has to do it. Alas, this is my job – photographing Colorado landscapes and Austin, Texas, skylines, as well as other Texas locations.

In late July, wildflowers begin to burst forth in the basins and gulches of Colorado’s high country. When the timing is right, one of the areas I try to visit is Yankee Boy Basin near Ouray, located in the Uncompahgre National Forest. The dirt road leading to Yankee Boy isn’t too bad for the first 6 miles. Most passenger cars can do it. Along the way you’ll pass by an old mine and the much photographed Twin Falls. After that, however, the road turns considerably worse. I’m willing to take my 4WD SUV another 2 miles, but no further. You can take a high clearance 4WD higher, but I’m happy reaching the 8 mile point. This area provides colorful Colorado wildflowers, including columbine, paintbrush, daisies and bluebells, against a landscape punctuated by one of Colorado’s 14,000 foot peaks, Mount Sneffels. In the evening you can shoot towards Sneffels and, if the conditions are right, you’ll have a great sunset as well.

The most recent evening I was there I arrived about 6:30pm after bumping my way up the last two miles. As soon as I got out of my car, the rains came. After a few minutes, as usually happens at 12,000 feet, the air quickly cleared and gave way to a beautiful evening. I spent the next few hours enjoying the scenery and practicing my craft.

Colorado Wildflowers put on a show in Colorado's Yankee Boy Basin.

The wildflowers of Yankee Boy Basin near Ouray, Colroado, can put on quite a show in July and August.

Yankee Boy Basin is actually private land and made public by the generosity of its owners. The wildflowers tend to peak the third and fourth weeks of July. If your are adventurous and physically fit, you can also hike Mount Sneffels. Alternatively, the hike from Yankee Boy Basin over Blue Lakes Pass and down to the second and first Blue Lakes is also breathtaking. On the other side of the ridge, especially looking down on the turquoise waters of the Lower Blue Lake you’ll find a slope filled with wildflowers in mid summer. I’ve done this hike and, while tired at the end, I thoroughly enjoyed the vistas and landscapes and most of all the colorful flowers of the area.

If I can answer any questions about this area, just let me know.

In the meantime, feel free to visit my Colorado Gallery.

Also, keep up with my photography on my Professional Facebook page.

Happy Travels,

~ Rob

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