Pollock Bench Date: 4/25/2010 Difficulty: Moderate Distance: Approx. 7 miles Round Trip Rating: Time: 3.5 hours Type: Loop Trail head GPS Coordinates: 39° 9’20.56″N, 108°46’43.97″W
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The Pollock Bench trail is located within the Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness area south of Fruita Colorado. To access the trail head from Grand Junction, travel west on I-70 to the Fruita exit. Turn left and travel about 1.5 miles to Kingsview Estate, there is also a sign indicating Horsethief State Wildlife Area. Turn right and drive through the small subdivision and bear left when the road turns to gravel. From this point you will travel past the Devils Canyon trailhead on your left and the Opal Hill area on your right. The Pollock Bench Trailhead is located at a parking area about 3.5 miles on your left just at the bottom of a small wash.
Pollock Bench is listed as moderate to strenuous but it wasn’t too bad. The trail itself is a designated trail and well marked. There are two options to take at the trail head, F1 and P1. P1 is Pollock Bench, F1 is Flume Canyon. The BLM website says Pollock Bench is 7.3 miles round trip but the maps you can get at the trail head states it is 5.4 miles. I didn’t measure any mileage.
There are quite a few branches you can take to go in different directions. One of the side trails will take you to Rattlesnake Arches which is an awesome little hike that has the largest concentration of natural arches in the world next to Arches National Park.
Pollock Bench does a large loop and eventually hooks back in to the original trail. At about the half way point, there is a trail that leads off to the East. This trail will take you to the Flume Canyon trail. From there you can either hike it or there is an option that leads to Devils Canyon from the Flume canyon trail. I kept it simple and just stayed on the Pollock Bench trail. This trail offers some extraordinary scenery. Peace and tranquility is on the order here. We ran across some pretty cool lizards such as the collared lizard and the Western Whip Tail lizard plus a multitude of birds and varmints. As we sat on the sandstone ledge overlooking Pollock Canyon we were treated to three small herds of deer in the canyon running back towards the higher country. There are Big Horn sheep in Devils Canyon which is close by so I suppose it wouldn’t take much for them to wander over in this area too. Keep an eye out to the West once you get close to the Rattlesnake Arches trail, there are some sort of buildings or something carved into the sandstone cliffs off in the distance. They looked very interesting. If any one knows what they are let me know.
I rated this trail a four star due to the extraordinary scenery and the variation in terrain. There is plenty to look at and it is a good workout.