At the parking area, you will see a sign
on a fence that says no trespassing. Start climbing up through the trees just to the right of the fence. After a minute or so of climbing, you should be able to find a climbing path. If you don’t, start angling left towards a fence line. The path essentially parallels the fence the whole way up. Start climbing up the path
. It’s a little faint in places. The path is pretty efficient, and it’s a good thing. Without it, it would be tough going through the thick brush. The path follows a fence that goes almost all the way to the summit of Mount Ballard. Along the way, you will probably see clothing and other items left behind by illegal immigrants from Mexico. You’re only a few miles from the border here.
Continue up the path as it climbs up the northeast ridge of Mount Ballard. There are no real obstacles to surmount, but the brush is thick and the path is steep in places. Just before you reach the summit, the path just kind of ends in the thick brush
at the summit. A rock cairn marks the true summit. You’ll have a good view of Fissure Peak from here. For Fissure Peak, you will have to descend to the 7,160’ saddle between Fissure and Ballard. The traverse over to Fissure is not long or particularly hard, but there is lots of thick brush and loose rock. On the descent, you will probably have to climb up and over Mount Ballard again to avoid the thick brush on the north slopes.
Hiking Distance: About 3 miles round trip.
Elevation Gain: About 1,800’.