Panoramic views accompany every step of this great, easy hike along an old mining road to Yule Pass, where sweeping views extend to the peaks rising beyond Yule Creek, Purple Canyon and the Upper Slater River Valleys. Near at hand Purple and Treasure mountains tower overhead. (full description)
It is not often that you find a short, easy trail to a scenic pass that starts above timberline and features nonstop views. But that is the perfect description of the hike to Yule Pass.
Most of the work gaining elevation is done by driving your car to Paradise Divide at 11,250-ft. Here you will find the Yule Pass trail, which follows an old mining road carved into the talus fields along the steep flanks of Cinnamon and Treasure Mountains high above Purple Canyon. Over the length of the hike the trail gains a little over 450-ft. to the pass.
Great views accompany every step of the hike. Purple Mountain (12,958-ft.) and Treasure Mountains (13,462-ft.) tower above steep-walled Purple Canyon channeling the nascent Slate River far below the trail. To the southwest vistas extend down the length of Purple Canyon to the Slate River Valley and the peaks beyond.
At the head of the valley the trail climbs to Yule Pass, situated on the saddle between Purple and Treasure Mountains. Mount Justice, Marble Peak, Rugged Mountain and Chair Mountain form the backdrop for the Yule Creek Valley to the west. Cinnamon Mountain, Gothic Peak and Mount Crested Butte dominate the view to the east. Treasure and Purple Mountains soar overhead while below you the Slate River tumbles down the canyon floor.
Wait for the snow to melt, usually in late July, before attempting this hike. Several steep snowfields that typically cover segments of the road beneath Treasure Mountain are extremely dangerous.
Rock slide have obliterated sections of the road which are now spanned by narrow, boot beaten trails with some exposure. As such this trail is not recommended for anyone with a fear of heights or who are uncomfortable on trails with steep drop-offs.
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