2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Also on

Enter Zip Code

Backpacker Magazine – May 2000

Colorado's San Juans Wildflower Explosion

The majestic San Juan Mountain range is often called America's Switzerland. -- and the wildflowers match.

by: Buck Tilton

PAGE 1 2

The majestic San Juan Mountain range, with its many jagged, sky-high peaks, is often called America's Switzerland. It follows, then, that 14,150-foot Mt. Sneffels must be the Matterhorn of southern Colorado.

The peak is the high point of the Mt. Sneffels Wilderness, a sweep of craggy, towering terrain that each summer is home to an explosion of wildflowers rivaling any display in the Swiss Alps. The kaleidoscopic riot of color breaks out near the foot of Mt. Sneffels and fills every valley and meadow with a rainbow's worth of blooms.

Yankee Boy Basin is the best place to start. (Be forewarned: The flowers are so thick here that you're in danger of becoming spellbound at the trailhead.) The 2.5-mile climb on the Blue Lakes Trail to a stunning campsite at Blue Lakes sounds short, but plan to stop and smell the flowers, repeatedly. Every imaginable color and type of bloom can be found here. Columbine-the blue-and-white intricate and unmistakable state flower of Colorado-is indescribable. This flower joins lupine, larkspur, paintbrush, penstemon, phlox, and arnica to serve up eye-popping shades of deep purple and lavender, bright red and brilliant yellow, as well as soft azure, bold cerulean, and intense blue and white.

Just below Blue Lakes Pass on the Yankee Boy Basin side, look for a well-used route up Mt. Sneffels that ascends to a saddle east of the peak. From there, a tough scramble awaits for those who want the eagle's view from the summit. If you feel the urge, go ahead and yodel.

PAGE 1 2

Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Address 1:
Address 2:
Email (req):

Reader Rating: -


Your rating:
Your Name:


My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

Health and Fitness
2014 fitness updates
Posted On: Aug 22, 2014
Submitted By: RebeccaD
Rocky Mountains
Who Has Plans in the Winds This Year?
Posted On: Aug 22, 2014
Submitted By: OldBill
View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions