Flowing Park Loop Lowdown
The morning after the day of trail work we rolled out of camp to perform quality control testing on the Flowing Park Loop in its entirety. Here's the lowdown on my close inspection of this relatively new trail on the Grand Mesa.
Access: The trail starts at Flowing Park Reservoir. From Highway 65 turn onto Lands End Road and after 1.2 miles turn left onto Road 109. Flowing Park Reservoir is reached after approximately 5 miles. The road has recently been graded and makes for fairly fast travel. Numerous campsites abound on this road from which one can start the ride also. Rumor has it that COPMOBA is shortly to begin work on building a trail all the way from the highway adding significant singletrack to the loop - nice!!
Route: A lolipop that explores the outer rim of the Indian Point Peninsula. Start where the gravel road dead-ends at a gate on the far side of Flowing Park Reservoir. Past the gate the road continues up a shallow incline before quickly the trail turns to doubletrack and to singletrack. Now you are rolling! Its about three miles before reaching the start of the loop and one can go either way. We did it clockwise taking the Flowing Park trail first and returning on the Indian Point trail. The entire loop is not yet marked on maps but its virtually impossible to get lost.
After rolling across meadows stashed full of wildflowers we reached the first lookout point with amazing views of the West Elks and the North Fork Valley. The trail is narrow singletrack and only a little bumpy in spots due to the fact that it's new and currently riders are outnumbered by cows. With more riding the tread will only improve and there were plenty of riders out there so hopefully it wont be long. Another few miles of meadows and aspen groves brought us back to the rim and views of the San Juan mountains far in the distance and the City of Delta 5,000 feet below. The trail then follows the rim for about four miles to Indian Point. Given that one is essentially riding along the edge of a cliff there are a few rocks lying around which makes for some more bumpy riding but nothing technical. The hardest part is keeping ones eyes focused on the task at hand and away from the amazing views stretching for a hundred miles or more. It was a little hazy from forest fires when we were there but still an incredible experience - almost like being in a plane.
Indian Point is indeed a great lookout. I'm not familiar with the history but I can imagine the Ute indians standing there looking deep down into the Grand Valley flanked by the Uncompaghre Plateau to the south and the Bookcliffs to the north.
After leaving Indian Point the trail continues along the rim a mile or so, this time looking down into the Kannah Creek drainage which is one of the main water sources for the City of Grand Junction.
Then its back to rolling meadows, aspen groves and the best singletrack of the day. Yours truly enjoying:
Our GPS reported our riding distance as 18 miles though we did tack a couple of miles by riding from camp. Elevation gain was virtually zilch. It took us just less than three hours with numerous stops to gape at the views.
In sum the results of the quality control test are as follows:
Pros: Spectacular views, singletrack, flowers, cool temps, no uphills, few mosquitos (this is the dry side of the Mesa), a decent length ride.
Cons: Bumpy in spots, no downhills.
Overall: and will only get better the more it is ridden. See you out there!