Glade Park & Pinon Mesa
Turkey Flats Trail
Turkey Flats trail is on Pinon Mesa. It is for hikers and non-motorized vehicles, which means mountain bikes are allowed. Horses are also welcome.
Below find a couple of reviews that include directions and other information about the trail.
Bill Haggerty/Daily Sentinel review
This article by Bill Haggerty gives the main information necessary to find the trail head, and stay on track.
Sunday hike to Turkey Flats a chance to escape the heat
I had not tried hiking on a Sunday in a month of Sundays. It’s less crowded during the week.
Selfish, I know. But this past Sunday, I needed a break. Maybe it was my body sensing another 96-degree day. Maybe it was my feet sensing an escape was near. Maybe it was the chores I wished to avoid. No matter. I took a sweet, therapeutic hike up in altitude and attitude to Turkey Flats.
This loop trail is on Glade Park, in that small section of the Grand Mesa Forest found near the Fruita reservoirs above Mud Springs Campground. I discovered a handful of other vehicles at the trail head, but it was not what I would call crowded. After last week’s running race on the same trail, most of the visitors had gone home.
Temperatures were at least 20 degrees cooler in the aspen forest than in the concrete jungle below, and it took fewer than 50 minutes to get there in the vehicle.
Once there, the Turkey Flats Loop (Trail No. 661) is off limits to motorized transport. Self-propelled fat tire enthusiasts can ride this loop in 1.5 to two hours. Hikers will take about 4.5 to six hours to complete the round-trip.
To reach this trail head, take Grand Avenue over the Colorado River Bridge and turn left onto Monument Road. Travel through the Colorado National Monument’s east entrance. (You don’t have to pay the Park fee if you’re going to Glade Park, but it would be nice if you could support a national monument in our own backyard). Once you’re through the tunnel and reach the top, you’ll come to a turnoff for the Glade Park Store. It’s just past Cold Shivers Point. Turn left and go to the store, which is 14.5 miles from Fourth and Main. Turn left onto 16.5 Road. The pavement ends in another 2.6 miles, but stay on it.
This is a well-maintained dirt road, but there are a few blind curves, so watch your speed. You’ll find Mud Springs Campground about 4.2 miles past the end of the pavement. In another 1.3 miles you’ll come to a fork in the road. The left fork goes to Enoch Lake. Take the right fork. In another 1.5 miles you’ll enter the Grand Mesa National Forest.
Travel past the Fruita Reservoir No. 1 turnoff and the Fruita picnic ground, then past Fruita Reservoir No. 2. About .3 miles past No. 2, you’ll see the Turkey Flats Trail head on your left. Park on the right.
The trail begins at about 8,400 feet in elevation with a small climb through a lush aspen forest. It then angles through a transition zone of aspen and spruce. The smells of the woods here are much more pleasant than the fossil fuel smells of town.
Within another half-mile, you’ll top out at about 8,800 feet, then meander down into a long, lovely park where the Turkey Flats trail meets Haypress Trail No. 662. Go left, or northeast and continue on Trail No. 661 through another beautiful grove of aspen. In about three-quarters of a mile, you’ll have to climb again. In another half mile, you’ll come to a junction with Trail No. 663. Take a hard right, turning south. (If you continue forward here, you’ll find yourself at the Fruita Picnic Grounds). Follow trail No. 663 through a gate, then along the reservoir. As you leave the reservoir, continuing south and slightly west, the path climbs again.
About one and a half miles past the reservoir, you’ll come to a junction with Trail No. 646. Continue southwest, staying right at the junction. You’ll now actually be on Trail No. 646, but stay on it for another mile or mile and a half, and eventually the trail begins heading north again onto Haypress Trail No. 662. Take that back to the meadow you’d visited hours ago, then turn left onto Turkey Flats Trail No. 661 and back to the vehicle.
I found the forest to be quite lush and full of wildflowers. We all must remember, however, that fire season is upon us. Just this past Wednesday, a Stage 1 fire restriction took effect on all private land in Mesa County as well as all public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management Grand Junction field office. Stage 1 fire restrictions mean no open burning is allowed and campfires on public land are restricted to campfire grates provided by the BLM.
Humidity is forecast to stay low and temperatures will be in the 90s in the valley for a while more. If you want to escape the heat, head to Turkey Flats. But I’d be leery of going today — a Sunday.
Especially after some geek just wrote about it in the local newspaper.