|07-26-2015||Los Padres Forest Association||Flowing|
The camp is named after William N. Ballard. He was the station agent at the Ballard stage coach station which he established in the early 1860's until his death around 1870. The camp was established as a hunting camp on Birabent Creek which was named for a early homesteader in the canyon. Mr. Ballard is reported to be the first white man to see Zaca Lake. He was shown the lake by an native american.
Trail Description to Ballard Camp via La Jolla Trail
This is the fun part of the La Jolla Trail, which descends more than 800 feet in the first mile and a half. The single track starts off at 3,328 feet• 1 and races through wonderful wildflower displays, with blue lupines, chocolate lilies and golden poppies dotting the upper meadow areas in the spring.
The trail crosses an intermittent stream at .2 mile and continues carving through blooming hillsides to a gorgeous lookout over the Santa Ynez Valley at .8 mile. This is where the trail really starts to descend. From just before the 1-mile mark, to the canyon floor, the trail endures five sharp switchbacks over a half-mile stretch to Upper Ballard Camp.
The canyon floor is located at 1.5 miles. The upper camp is located just around the bend near the babbling seasonal creek. Follow the creek downstream for .2 mile to the camping site, marked by the remains of an old cabin and some usable fire pits.
There is an upper and lower camp a short distance apart.
From Santa Barbara, take the 101 to the Highway 154/Cachuma Lake exit. Head northwest on Highway 154/San Marcos Pass past the Cachuma Recreation Area. When you reach the small town of Los Olivos, make a right on Figueroa Mountain Road and follow the windy road for 12 miles to the Figueroa Ranger Station. The trailhead, easy to miss because it is marked only by a brown trail marker, is a half mile past the ranger station across from the turnoff to Tunnel Road. Park in the dirt turnout opposite Tunnel Road and avoid blocking the driveway. An Adventure Pass is required. The trailhead is indicated by the plastic Los Padres National Forrest marker.