Mount Sneffels Range / Wilderness, Colorado

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Mount Sneffels Wilderness

Mount Sneffels Wilderness Area is filled with sheer and craggy peaks that require technical climbing skills, but great mellow hiking trails do exist if you follow the right signs.

  • Mount Sneffels Wilderness area is home to some of Colorado's most sheer and jagged peaks.
  • There is trail access from Telluride, Ridgway and Ouray.
  • Mount Sneffels, Colorado, is known as a spectacular summit to climb, but can be dangerous because of loose rock.

Overview

The Mount Sneffels Wilderness Area encompasses 16,565 acres of land surrounding the iconic peak of its namesake. Skirting Telluride to south and Ridgway to the north, the area has fifteen-miles of designated hiking trails, and many view the scramble up the 14,150-foot Mount Sneffels as one of the most rewarding summits in Colorado.

Location & Information

The area is accessed from Telluride by the Sneffels Highline trail. The Yankee Boy Basin in Ouray and East Dallas Creek Road out of Ridgway are other starting points.

Snow can make some areas inaccessible, but expect dry land from mid-July through September and always be prepared for cold and wet weather.

Activities

The rugged nature of the Sneffels Range makes much of this wilderness area difficult to explore. Check out these hiking trails:

  • The Sneffels Highline is a 13-mile loop from Telluride through deep forest, rocky tundra and aspen groves. In Telluride, head north up Aspen Street to the Jed Wiebe trail. The highline trails branches off after less than a mile. When retreating from the 12,200 saddle, follow the Deep Creek Trail to return to town.
  • The climb up the south side of Sneffels is strenuous and rugged, but doable if you’re an experienced hiker or climber. The trail begins out of the Yankee Boy Basin near Ouray, and goes about three miles and 2,000 vertical feet if you drive to the upper trailhead. The hike is six miles and nearly 3,000 vertical feet if you start lower.  
  • The three Blue Lakes are the only sizable lakes in the wilderness and can accessed from the Yankee Boy Basin in Ouray or East Dallas Creek Road in Ridgway. It is 6.7 miles from trailhead to trailhead and there is an elevation change of 4,650 feet.

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