Ballard Mountain Trail is a 7.9 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Telluride, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
Hike up the Bear Creek/Wasatch Trail From Telluride, CO. After about 1 mile at the first clearing, you will see the unmarked trail on your left. Immediately cross the creek on a nice foot bridge and begin climbing the steep switchbacks towards tree line and Ballard Peak. The San Juan mountains around Telluride offer some of the best adventures and views in all of Colorado, if not the entire US. Ballard Mountain towers almost 13,000 feet above the town of Telluride, with unbelievable "out the back gate" access. Seldom explored, Ballard offers pristine alpine forests, wildflowers, local history, and jaw dropping views with little to no traffic. The Ballard Trail is a tough 4700 vertical foot climb in just over three miles of hiking. This trek is not for the faint of heart, but those who love to walk the trails a little more secluded. Ballard is truly an overlooked gem in the San Juan Mountains.
I've never seen so many switchbacks on a trail! But they get you up to treeline quickly, and the views are amazing! From the summit of Ballard, you have a very unique viewing perspective of the Bear Creek Drainage and the Telluride Ski Resort.