Pollock Bench to Flume CanyonDate: 11/28/2011
Miles: 5.7 Round Trip
Time: 3 hrs
Trailhead GPS Coordinates: 39° 9’20.56″N, 108° 46’43.97″W
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The Pollock Bench to Flume Canyon trail is located within the Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness Area just 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 which is the starting point of the hike is located at a parking area about 3.5 miles on your left just at the bottom of a small wash.
The whole area south of Fruita and west of the Colorado National Monument offers a multitude of hiking options. There are literally dozens of options you can take that will lead you down some great trails. One of the nice things about this trail system is that they are all connected starting at the Devils Canyon trailhead and extending all the way to Rattlesnake Arches.
For this hike I began at the Pollock Bench/Flume Canyon trailhead. I traveled in a counter clockwise direction beginning at Pollock Bench (P1) trail and ending at Flume Canyon.
The trail begins by gently climbing its way up an open meadow type area and up to the first level of the mesa. From this point the trail passes through a fence and then drops down and follows along a little “saddle” area before it begins the first major climb to the next level.
Once on the second level the trail levels out for a while as it follows along the rim of Flume Canyon. This section of the hike offers some great views of the canyon below and the Grand Valley behind you.
Shortly after reaching the top of the mesa you will come to a trail junction indication Rattlesnake Arches to your right and the Pollock Bench loop to your left. If you’re up for a longer hike you can turn right and follow the Rattlesnake Arches trail for a short distance where it will eventually connect back to the Pollock Bench loop trail. I just took the left fork and continued following the trail I was on as it threaded through the juniper trees until I came to the next junction indicating Flume Canyon to your left.
From this point the trail drops off the mesa and works its way down to the bottom of Flume Canyon where it is all downhill the rest of the way. The elevation you gained in the last two or so miles you lose on this trail in about a half mile. Although this section of the trail is fairly steep it is well used and should not pose any problems for anyone.
After about a half mile you will come to the junction of Flume Canyon. From here you can either turn right and continue on the Flume Canyon trail as it loops around, or turn left and head back to the trailhead. Either direction will ultimately end at the trailhead, you would just add some extra mileage by turning right. I didn’t feel like I ate enough turkey to justify losing the extra calories so I turned left and made my way back to the trailhead.
From here the trail gently winds its way through the trees and along the base of the cliff then eventually travels straight down the middle of Flume canyon. This portion of the trail is really sandy as it makes a b-line towards the trailhead. Once at the mouth of the canyon you will drop down into a small wash and once you climb out the other side you will be at the trailhead.
This is a nice hike that offers a mild workout along with the opportunity to observe a variety of wildlife including deer, bighorn sheep, rabbits and if you’re lucky a glimpse of a Mountain Lion.