Mr. Williams Geology Trail (Opal Hill Section)Date: 10/20/2014
Time: 1.5 Hours
Trail Head GPS Coordinates: 39° 8.856′N , 108° 44.796′W
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The “Mister Williams Geology Trail” begins at the Snooks Bottom and Opal Hill Trail heads just south of Fruita Colorado. The trail stretches from Opal Hill over and into Devils Canyon. It’s set up pretty nice so you can split it into two sections fairly easy. This post describes the Opal Hill section of the trail.
To access the trailhead you can travel west from Grand Junction on I-70 to the Fruita exit. Turn left and travel about 1.5 miles to Kingsview Estate, there is also a sign indicating Horse thief State Wildlife Area. Turn right and drive through the small subdivision. At the turn where the road turns to gravel there is a road that branches off and travels towards the river. Follow this road a short distance to the trailhead.
The Mister Williams Geology Trail is dedicated to Mike Williams which was a former science teacher at Fruita Monument High School. Unfortunately he passed away from a heart attack while on a field trip with students at Arches National Park. To honor his memory, his wife worked to get this neat trail implemented.
The Opal Hill section of the trail has twelve very highly informative and nice interpretive signs placed along the way with each describing various geologic phenomena.
Once through the gate at the trail head and after reading the first two informational signs, you want to take the first trail that branches off of the large main trail and make your way towards the next sign.
Each sign indicates the direction to proceed in order to reach the next one along with how many feet it is plus the GPS coordinates of the next sign. At the first white trail post you need to turn right and begin climbing towards the top of the hill.
This next sign was the first one that I had to backtrack a little to get to it. There is a slightly faint trail that branches off of the main one and heads straight up towards the sign. I thought it was just a route that people had begun using as a short cut and that the trail would wind around and go to it. I found out that this side trail was the actual route to the sign and it was a short up and back spur trail.
The trail continues to climb as it passes numerous informational signs and finally stops at the highest point of Opal Hill. There are great views of Devils Canyon and the surrounding area. From here the trial backtracks a short distance then drops down off of the hill until you come to the last two signs. From here you can either turn right and head over to Devils Canyon or left takes you back to the trail head. I turned left and followed the easy trail back to the beginning.
This is a neat trail that utilizes portions of the Opal Hill trail. Mrs. Williams did a fantastic job on all the signs. I came away feeling a little bit smarter. The only problem I had with the trail is I wish the BLM would label the trail marker posts with the name of the trail and maybe put a couple more up. There are a lot of little trails that branch off and I had to backtrack a couple times to get back on the right track. I really like the trail and the idea behind it and I hope that the local schools can utilize it for some great learning opportunities.