Alta

Rating: 
Round Trip Distance: 0.6 miles
Difficulty: Easy
MTB Skill level:
Elevation: 11,078 - 11,243 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 30 mins.
Trailhead: Alta Lakes
Fee: none
Attractions: Forest hike\bike




The Alta trail is located in the Uncompahgre National Forest near Telluride, Colorado. The trail connects the Alta Lakes Recreation Area with the Boondocks trail at the mining ghost town of Alta, Colorado. Around the year 1891 L.L. Nunn, Nicola Tesla and George Westinghouse worked at the site with the first industrial use of alternating current electricity.


To get to the upper trailhead, where this post begins, drive south on Highway 145 from the roundabout near Telluride for 5.7 miles and turn left at the sign for Alta Lakes. Continue on the narrow mountain road for 4.3 miles to the Alta Lakes Recreation Area. The road is normally passable for 2-wheel drive passenger vehicles although it is rough in places. Much of the road is too narrow for vehicles to pass each other without one of the vehicles finding a wide spot to pull over on.


The trail starts out by traveling through a small depression along a nice singletrack.


As the trail continues down the drainage it gradually loses about 150 feet of elevation.


There are several cables stretched out along the route in places that are left over from the mining days.


The Alta trail comes to an end as it meets up with the Boondocks trail a few hundred feet from the Alta Lakes Road.


It is interesting to contemplate the historical significance of the town of Alta as you walk among the remains of the ghost town. The large building on the left was used as a boarding house. From the town of Alta there is one heck of a nice view of Lizard Head and the Wilson Group with its three peaks that are all over 14,000 feet in elevation.


The scenery is also pretty nice while hiking back up the trail towards Alta Lakes where the peaks tower above 13,000 feet.


If all you want to do is tour the ghost town and hike the Alta trail then you can save yourself a half mile of driving and park on the other end of the trail where the road passes through Alta. We also hiked around Alta Lakes while we were there so we parked up by the campground. The Alta trail is an especially nice short hike for those that are camping at Alta Lakes. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.