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A grueling hike up Ballard Mountain with stunning views from the summit.


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Map Key

7.6

Miles

12.3

KM

Out and Back

12,737' 3,882 m

High

8,792' 2,680 m

Low

3,950' 1,204 m

Up

3,949' 1,204 m

Down

20%

Avg Grade (11°)

64%

Max Grade (33°)

Dogs Off-leash

Features Fall Colors · Views · Wildlife

Overview

This hike ascends one of the prominent peaks just outside the town of Telluride, Ballard Mountain (12,818'). The hike is anything but easy, with 4,000 feet of elevation gain and a steep, loose gully to scramble up just before the summit. But the views from the top are the reward for your effort - stunning vistas down toward Telluride and Silver Lake, and views of all the nearby high San Juan peaks.

Description

Ballard Mountain (12,818') is a prominent peak that lies just outside of Telluride. The hike is short but strenuous, gaining around 4,000' elevation (with most of that in just 2 miles).

You'll begin from the very popular Bear Creek Trailhead. Street parking is limited to 2 hours here, so you'll likely need to park at the Carhenge Lot, adding an additional short stroll to the trailhead.

Follow the Bear Creek Trail as it ascends slightly for about 3/4ths of a mile, then turn left onto the unmarked side trail. You'll cross over Bear Creek (there are logs here to keep your feet dry) then turn right and follow beside the creek for a while.

The trail then begins the massive ascent up the west side of Ballard. The switchbacks are endless as you climb through the forest. Eventually you'll gain the summit ridge and have some fantastic views down toward Telluride, and up to the summit of Ballard.

Continue up the ridge, following the obvious trail until you reach the bottom of a steep, loose gully. You'll need to scramble up this small gully with rotten rock to get to the summit, using hands when necessary.

From the summit you'll have amazing views of all the surrounding San Juan peaks, and Silver Lake below. Once you've soaked it all in, return the way you came.

Contacts

Shared By:

Mike Windsor

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 2 votes

#8

in Telluride

#3144

Overall
  4.5 from 2 votes
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Recommended Route Rankings

#8

in Telluride

#439

in Colorado

#3,144

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Photos

Views down the summit ridge toward Telluride.
Nov 4, 2023 near Telluride, CO
Views from the summit of Ballard Mountain.
Nov 4, 2023 near Telluride, CO
View down to Silver Lake.
Nov 4, 2023 near Telluride, CO
Views from the Ballard Mountain Trail.
Nov 4, 2023 near Telluride, CO
Views from the River Trail.
Nov 3, 2023 near Telluride, CO
Starting out on the popular and smooth Bear Creek Trail.
Nov 4, 2023 near Telluride, CO

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