If it’s wildflowers and pure Colorado wilderness you’re after, look no further than Yankee Boy Basin in Southwest Colorado’s San Juan Mountains. Jagged peaks, including the famed 14,000-foot Mount Sneffels, ring this stunning location, while long-abandoned mining structures dot the hillsides. Directly from Ouray or over Imogene Pass from Telluride, a high clearance four-wheel drive vehicle and a good pair of hiking shoes will get you above tree line and into this incredible basin.

NEARBY: The most dangerous drive in Colorado!

You’ll pass the famous Camp Bird Mine on the way up to Yankee Boy. This 19th century gold mine produced over $1.5 billion between 1896 and 1990.

If you decide to hike Mount Sneffels, be sure to check out the view of Blue Lakes, a beautiful spot in the Mount Sneffels Wilderness.

If you’re an experienced 4×4 driver and are up for a longer trip, begin in Telluride and drive up and over Imogene Pass to Yankee Boy Basin. This route has some of the most incredible scenery in Colorado and is dense with mining history.

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Photographers flock to Yankee Boy in summer wildflower season (usually mid-July) and for good reason. Don’t forget your camera and tripod!

NEARBY: If you find yourself in the San Juans in fall, check out our local’s guide to 24 hours of fall in Telluride.

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