Pollock Bench

Round Trip Distance: 7.4 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 4469 - 5260 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 3 hrs. 15 mins.
Trailhead: Pollock Bench
Fee: none
Attractions: Scenic canyon views

The Pollock Bench trail is located in the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area near Grand Junction and Fruita, Colorado. The trail climbs an old jeep road to an inclined mesa top where it descends to a bench that looks over the east fork of Pollock Canyon. The trail travels along the bench following the upper rim of the canyon until it loops back to the main trail. Along the way there are connections to the Rattlesnake Arches, Pollock Canyon and Flume Canyon trails.

From the trailhead follow the signs for the P1 trail. The Flume Canyon (F1) and Rattlesnake Arches (R1) trails depart from this same trailhead. The Pollock Bench, Pollock Canyon and Rattlesnake Arches trails share the same route for the first 1.6 miles.

The trail begins climbing following the natural slope of the land. The average grade for the Pollock Bench Loop is 8%. As you hike up the trail you can expect to gain about 350 feet of elevation for each mile you walk. In comparison the Mt. Garfield trail gains about 1,000 feet of elevation for each of its miles. Just under the half mile point of the hike you will come to the little trail squeeze shown here in the photo.

The climb becomes a bit more gentle and the views become much more outstanding as the trail begins traveling along the west rim of the Flume Canyon Area. The Flume Canyon trail can be seen below.

The trail comes to a fork just over the 1.6 mile point where the loop begins. For this post we followed the loop in the clockwise direction by going to the left at this point. This junction is also where the Pollock Canyon and Rattlesnake Arches trails continue along the right fork.

From the beginning of the loop the trail continues at an easy pace through growths of juniper trees mixed with a few pinon trees and various bushes, grasses and wildflowers. The hilltop becomes narrower as the trail progress. Near the upper end the pleasing scenery of the Flume Canyon and Devils Canyon areas come into view to the east and the spectacular spires and canyon walls of Pollock Canyon can be seen to the west. Just under the 3 mile point of the hike the F2 trail breaks off on the left and a short distance further the trail begins looping back and dropping down to the bench along the canyon rim.

Hiking along the bench is an easy and pleasant experience. The trail has a slight downhill pitch going in this direction and the views of Pollock Canyon are hard to beat.

The Pollock Canyon trail follows the drainage in the base of the canyon. By hiking up the east fork in the canyon below you can find a trail that leads all the way up to the Pollock Bench and Flume Canyon trails.

There are a couple of sections of the trail where the hillside is steep and it travels close to the rim. The extra exposure makes the trail seem much narrower but we point them out for those that have small children with them and might not want them running too far ahead of their watchful eye.

At the 4.7 mile point the horse route breaks off on the right. The horse route is a little shorter but more importantly it avoids a little scrambling that hikers have to do to get up a cliffy section of the trail ahead.

Continuing on around the bench provides even more pleasing scenery to enjoy. Around the 5 mile point of the hike the trail comes to the spot where the Rattlesnake Arches trail is beginning its descent into Pollock Canyon. The Pollock Bench trail is looping east at this point and begins its climb back to the top of the hill. There are a couple of rocky outcrops that have to be scrambled up going this way but all it takes is a little leg stretching and maybe a handhold to get up them. No big deal for hikers but kind of nasty for horses.

Once back on top of the hill it is only a short distance to where the horse route reconnects and just a little further past that to where the loop began. From here it is all downhill back to the trailhead.

The Pollock Bench Loop is a favorite with many of the local hikers and horseback riders. There are also a few trailrunners that frequent the trail. The trailhead has some long parking slots for horse trailers and just enough room for them to turn around. For great views coupled with a healthy dose of exercise the Pollock Bench Loop won't disappoint. If you want to see them for yourself all you have to do is 'Take a Hike'.