Flume CanyonDate: 6/7/2010
Miles: Approx. 5 Miles Round Trip
Trailhead GPS Coordinates: 39° 9’20.46″N, 108°46’43.58″W
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The Flume Canyon trail is located within the Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness area south of Fruita Colorado and shares the same trail head as Pollock Bench. 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 trail head on your left and the Opal Hill area on your right. The Flume Canyon Trail head is located at a parking area about 3.5 miles on your left just at the bottom of a small wash.
As you approach the trail head there is a sing indicating P1 to the right and F1 to the left. Flume Canyon is F1. If you have ever hiked the Pollock Bench trail, Flume Canyon is the trail that runs up the middle of the canyon just East of the beginning.
The trail remains fairly level most of the way. As you begin the trail drops down a short distance and crosses a few dry washes. The majority of the trail is covered in varying depths of sand. After hiking a short distance you will come to the first branch in the trail. Just before you drop down into some trees and thick bushes there is a trail that goes to the right, this trail will connect to the Pollock Bench trail. Stay to the left and continue to the next branch. From here you can choose which direction you would like to go. We chose to take the right fork and travel in a counter clockwise direction. You can go either way as the trail basically does a loop.
At about the halfway point you will come to yet another fork in the trail. This fork branches off to the right once again and is yet another trail to access the Pollock Bench trail. From this point the trail does a mild elevation gain and climbs up and over a small hill then drops down and follows a stream bed. From this point on I would be sure to pay attention to the weather South of you. I don’t know if this particular area would be prone to flash flooding or not but there are a few sections of this part that give you no where to go except forward.
After following the stream bed for a little distance you will come to the final official fork in the trail. This trail is labeled D? and will take you over to Devils Canyon. Shortly after this last fork you will come to the spillway of the “Flume” in Flume Canyon. I’m guessing they call it Flume Canyon because this part of the canyon gets extremely narrow in places and resembles a flume.
The trail follows the rim of this deeper canyon the remainder of the way. Once the trail reaches the end of the canyon, you have the option of hiking up the “Flume”. I don’t think there is an official trail that runs up the canyon but I did see a trail that branched off the main trail and headed up the canyon. Once again, be very careful if you hike up the “Flume”, once you get in it there is pretty much no way out except the way you came in. If it rains hard enough I’m sure the canyon can get pretty deep with water.
I rated this trail a four because it has some distance you have to cover but it is not so far that you get completely exhausted. The variation in terrain is interesting and of course the scenery is there as usual. I really liked the “flume”. I did not hike up it this time, but plan on doing it soon.