Round Trip Distance: 7 miles
Elevation: 4500-5268 feet
Cellphone: 3-4 bars
Usage: Hiking -Dogs - No bikes - No OHV
Time: 2 hrs. 15 min.
Facilities: Vault toilet at trailhead
Trailhead: Pollock Bench
View Pollock Bench in a larger map
This trail was a lot of fun to hike. The Pollock Bench trail and the Flume Canyon trail share the same trailhead. This is also a favorite place to begin for hiking to Rattlesnake Arches.
The trail starts off heading up a ridge area that separates Pollock Canyon to the west and Flume Canyon to the east. The trail rises fairly fast at first ascending up a series of rocky ledges. After hiking the first half mile I had already gained over 200 feet of elevation. From there the ascent leveled off a bit still steadily gaining altitude but not what I would call steep.
A little over a mile and a half up the trail I came to the beginning of the Pollock Bench Loop. The altitude had climbed to 5010 feet. It took me 30 minutes to reach this point. I decided to take the left fork and hike the loop in a clockwise direction.
I continued up the ridge for almost 1 and one quarter of a mile where I reached the highest point for this route at about 5270 feet. The trail begins descending here and after a few feet I came to another fork in the trail. The left fork is for the F2 trail that connects the upper portion of the Pollock Bench Loop and the Flume Canyon trail. It's a lot of fun to hike if you ever get the chance. I took the left fork and remained on the Pollock Bench Loop trail. At this point the trail begins turning back to the north traveling along the upper bench area of the Pollock Canyon. This provides for some beautiful views looking down into the canyon.
Looking deep into the bowels of the canyon you can see a deep gorge of the Precambrian formation. Above that the red dirt of the Chinle formation shows through. On top of that are the steep cliffs of the Wingate Sandstone which is capped by a layer of Kayenta Sandstone. The pink colored Entrada sandstone with its striped layers of white crowns the Kayenta formation. On top of all of that is the colored clay and sandstone layers of the Morrison Formation. It's like looking back in time over millions of years all in one gaze.
The next 2 miles of the trail is an easy hike as it skirts the rim of the upper bench area. It only took a little over 30 minutes to hike this section of the trail.
It pays to look down from time to time. I spotted a Desert Bighorn ram and a couple of ewes. The ram and at least one of the ewes were sporting ear tags.
I reached the 5 mile mark after hiking an hour and a half. The trail junctions with the Pollock Canyon/Rattlesnake Arch trail at this point. This junction is near the bottom of a cliff. From here I had to scramble 100 feet up to the top of the cliff. It was kind of fun as the trail wound its way up through the sandstone boulders to the top.
From here the trail gradually descended back towards the loop fork which was less than a half mile away. There was still plenty of scenery to please the eye and challenge the camera while hiking the rest of the way back to the trailhead. The entire hike was 7 miles and today it took just over 2 hours to complete. The days are getting a little cooler so I only went through about 80 ounces of water. This is the kind of hike that I like doing over and over again. It was good exercise and the views are always pleasing. If you want to see them for yourself all you have to do is 'Take a Hike'.