Mount Yale, with an elevation of 14,196 feet, is the 21st highest peak in the state of Colorado. Mount Yale was named by members of the first Harvard Mining School class, while they were on expedition with Professor Josiah Dwight Whitney in 1869 to investigate rumors of 17,000-foot peaks deep in the Rockies. The alma mater of Whitney (after whom California's Mount Whitney was named) was Yale. The standard route to the summit of this Fourteener (one of the five Collegiate Peaks, along with Mounts Columbia, Harvard, Oxford, and Princeton) used to be Denny Gulch, but, thanks to Denny Gulch's severe overuse erosion, the Delaney Gulch route is considered best for an easy hike.
To reach the Delaney Gulch/Denny Creek trailhead, head west out of Buena Vista along Main Sreet, which becomes Cottonwood Pass Road. Twelve miles from town, turn right into a parking area signed "Denny Creek." Hike the Denny Creek Trail (which begins as a road) north for 1.5 miles, then cut northeast after the trail crosses the creek. Head towards the summit of Yale, traversing and bushwhacking into Delaney Gulch (try to keep your path as straight northeasterly as possible; otherwise you'll end up bushwhacking more than necessary or encounter cliffs). Head through the open area of Delaney Gulch, then through a few hundred yards of timber before turning northeast to climb 600 feet in elevation to the timberline. Follow the gullies to the basin northwest of the summit, ascend to the ridge, and follow the ridge southeast to the summit.
There is a more direct trail up Delaney Gulch which might be improving with use - field reports are welcome!
This page last updated 8/15/06