Turkey Flats

Rating: 
Round Trip Distance: 5.7 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 8873 - 9233 feet
Cellphone: 0-2 bars
Time: 2 hrs. 30 mins.
Trailhead: Turkey Flats (16 1/2 Road)
Trailhead: Turkey Flats (Forest Road 400.2C)
Fee: none
Attractions: Forest, wildlife, wildflowers



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The Turkey Flats 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 right fork at 7.6 miles and continue on 16 1/2 Road. Pass the turnoff to Fruita Reservoir #1, at the Fruita Picnic Area, at about 9.5 miles and reach the Turkey Flats trailhead after just over 10 miles. There is ample parking on the right side of the road across from the trailhead.


The easy to follow trail begins by traveling around a prominent hill, heading mostly south, as it climbs the drainage of Hay Press creek.


Over the first mile and a half the trail climbs a little over 300 feet at a gentle pace.


Just over 1.5 miles the Turkey Flats trail is met by the Hay Press trail that connects Turkey Flats to the Ridge trail.


At this point the Turkey Flats trail is heading east and for the next mile it passes through open meadows and stands of trees with only minor changes in elevation. Deer and elk can be seen at times and if the name of the trail is any indication then perhaps some wild turkeys also. We saw wild turkeys on the Ridge trail and the Black Pine trail but oddly enough not at Turkey Flats.


At this point the trail makes about a 50 foot drop into a wash that leads down to Fruita Reservoir #2.


The trail climbs out of the wash on the east side at a much easier pace than it did when it dropped in on the west side.


After hiking just under 3 miles the trail comes out on the Forest Service 400.2C road that leads from 16 1/2 Road to Fruita Reservoir #1. It is possible to park at this trailhead instead but there is only about enough room for 2 or 3 vehicles. This road is also only open between May 1 and December 1 and sections of it are just a little bit rough.


There aren't a lot of rocks and boulders on the Turkey Flats trail but the ones that are there present themselves very well.


I came across a doe and two fawns that were within about 50 feet of me. The fawns were very active but the doe simply laid there while I passed by taking pictures.


The Turkey Flats trail gets regular use from hikers, bikers and hunters. A popular mountain bike ride is to begin at the trailhead on 16 1/2 Road and ride the entire Turkey Flats trail to Forest Road 400.2C. Then ride up the road to the Reservoir #1 trail and follow it as it climbs up to the Ridge trail. The Ridge trail is then followed west to the top of the Hay Press trail which leads back down to the Turkey Flats trail and back to the beginning. I believe the entire loop comes out to less than 8 miles. The Turkey Flats trail has a wonderful peaceful feeling about it. It is interesting how exercise at times can be so restful. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.