Fruita Picnic Area Type:Picnic/Scenic Miles From Grand Junction: Approx. 47.5 round Trip Rating: Restrooms: Yes Water: Yes Fee: No Date: 9/26/2011 GPS Coordinates: 38° 52.092′N , 108° 45.750′W
The Fruita Picnic Area is located within the Fruita Division of the Grand Mesa National Forest located above Glade Park. Yes, it is a little odd having a Grand Mesa National Forest so far from Grand Mesa itself.
To access the picnic area from 1st and Grand in Grand junction you need to travel west on Grand Avenue, also known as Highway 340, for just under 1 mile where you will turn left, or south onto Monument Road. From this point you need to continue traveling on Monument Road for approximately 7.5 miles until you come to the junction of DS Road and a sign indicating Glade Park. You will pass through the Colorado National Monument but if you inform them you are going to Glade Park they will usually waive the entrance fee. It is a great idea to get a pass so that you can stop and do a little exploring in the Colorado National Monument, the pass is only $10 and is good for seven days. Once you reach the junction of DS road you need to turn left and travel about six more miles to 16.5 Road. The Glade Park store will be on your right. At this point turn left again and follow 16.5 road for another 10 miles or so. The picnic area is located at the turn off to Fruita Reservoir #1 and is immediately after a large meadow.
The first couple miles from the Glade Park store is all paved roads, once the road turns to gravel you begin climbing in a good fashion. The road is well maintained and suitable for passenger cars in all but the worse of weather. During the winter months the road can become quite treacherous and during heavy rainfalls it could become rather slick as well in spots.
As you climb up the mountain you will pass through areas of oak brush and sage followed farther up by aspens. Within 2-3 miles of leaving the paved road you will pass Mud Springs Campground on your right which is a nice campground.
Once at the picnic area there are a number of picnic tables as well as grills and a larger fire pit. Off towards the side is what looks like a small lecture area or outdoor classroom with benches, small stage and a podium.
There is running water during the summer months and a vault toilet. The picnic area is open from June to October. The Glade Park area has some very pretty scenery and good opportunity to see wildlife such as deer, elk, wild turkey and bear. The close proximity and ease of access makes it a very nice area to go to get away from the hustle and bustle of town and to escape the heat in the summer months.