Round Trip Distance: 5 miles
Elevation: 9112 - 9606 feet
Cellphone: 0-1 bars
Usage: Hiking - Biking - Equestrian - Dogs
Time: 3 hrs.
Trailhead: Black Pine
Attractions: Sub-alpine forest, wildlife, wildflowers, peace and solitude
View Black Pine in a larger map
The Black Pine trail is located south of Glade Park in the Fruita Division of the Grand Mesa National Forest. The Fruita Division of the Grand Mesa National Forest is about 27 miles due west of the main reservation on top of the Grand Mesa. One of the purposes of national forests is not only to preserve the trees but to manage and protect the water supplies. For the sole purpose of protecting the Town of Fruita's water supply the Fruita Division was added to the Grand Mesa National Forest reservation in 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt.
Access to the trailhead can be made with a 2-wheel drive vehicle on dry roads by turning south at the Glade Park Store on 16 1/2 Road. The pavement ends after 2.6 miles and you pass the Mud Springs Campground at 6.4 miles. Take the left fork at 7.7 miles and continue on JS Road which is unmarked unless they have replaced the sign. Follow JS Road for 1.7 miles and turn right on 18 Road which might also be unmarked. Continue past Enoch Lake at 1.8 miles and past the Ridge trail parking area at 4 miles. Follow the road to on to the left and follow it downhill for about another mile. There is a turnoff here that goes to the right. This is the place to park unless you are driving a high clearance 4-wheel drive. At this point there is a road that continues toward the southwest and another road that goes to the right toward the ridge. The road to the southwest will take you to the Black Pine trailhead which is about 1/3 of a mile. At present there aren't any signs to point the way until you get to the Black Pine trailhead. The total distance from the Glade Park Store should come out to about 14.5 miles.
The Black Pine isn't opened to any type of motorized travel and to discourage such there have been numerous trees felled across the road. A path has been cut through the first few trees that you come to allowing enough room for a mountain bike to work its way around the logs but after awhile the trail becomes jammed up enough that it wouldn't be much fun at all to try to ride. Perhaps at some future date the trail will become more usable for bikes.
As for foot travel goes the hike between the trailhead and Black Pine Reservoir is a real dream. There are a few gentle hills to climb through this first leg of the hike. On a calm day the hike is as pretty and peaceful as can be.
The trail becomes hard to follow as it approaches the water and seems to go off in several different directions. The Black Pine trail didn't show up on either of our GPS but we could gather that the trail would pass by the lake and continue up the valley toward the ridge. Our GPS still came in pretty handy because when we had hiked the Ridge trail we set a waypoint at the junction of the Ridge, Black Pine and Reservoir #1 trails.
The route to take after passing by Black Pine Reservoir will be determined by how much the water is backed up. We stayed a few feet up on the slope of the hillside and after a short distance the trail once again became apparent.
The canyon narrows and makes a dog leg to the left the further the trail progresses. The trail also begins its moderate climb up the slope of the hill.
The trail comes to a fallen spruce tree that appear to be blocking the trail. If you look back over your right shoulder at this point you will see the trail switches back the other direction and continues on up the hill. This is an important spot to remember on the hike back because the trail that continues in the other direction past the log looks pretty good also.
The trail begins climbing at a little steeper angle after the switchback. It is just over a quarter mile from the switchback to the turn around point at the Ridge trail junction. About halfway there the trail passes the remains of an old cabin.
Once you reach the end of the trail there are 3 signs that designate each of the trails that come together at this junction. If you are interested in the approximate waypoint for this important intersection it is: N38 50.323 W108 46.032
If you have ever had much to do with running cows then you are accustomed to place out mineral blocks or 'salt licks' like the one in the picture. This one was placed on the trail next to a watering hole so the cows would be sure to stumble upon it
I'm not 100% sure on these mushrooms yet. It could be a marasimius oreades which is an edible mushroom.
The Black Pine trail is a very enjoyable hike even with the little bit of climbing to get to the ridge and the obscure trail around Black Pine Reservoir. Even with its relatively close proximity to town the rough rode makes the trail appear remote. This would be a good trail to backpack into and spend the night. The write up on the Forest Services page implies that there are fish in Black Pine Reservoir. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.