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Third Flats Road & Art Cook’s View

After Work Adventures | Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Just like last week, I headed over to the Third Flats area after work this afternoon so I could hike a new trail to a highpoint on Horse Mesa, and also just like last week, I ended up changing those plans because of threatening storms in the area. After leaving work and driving up Little Park Road into the Bangs Canyon Recreation Area, I drove down the Third Flats Road all the way to the Gunnison River near the mouth of Billings Canyon and was hoping to hike up to the top of Horse Point from there. However, there were rainstorms in the area and the final section of the road down to the Gunnison River was cut through clay and I didn’t want to chance getting stuck down there if it rained, so I drove back up the road a little ways and hiked the Art Cook’s View Trail instead. I’ll have to come back for Horse Point another time.

Driving down Third Flats Road as it descends to the Gunnison River.

Third Flats Road Descent

Third Flats Road

As I neared the bottom of the descent I had a nice view of the Gunnison River and the Gunnison Bluffs.

Gunnison River

The final section of road to the river was the roughest part, but it still wasn’t difficult.

Down to the River

Looking up at lower Horse Mesa, which is where I was planning to hike.

Lower Horse Mesa

When I reached the junction with the Horse Mesa Road I decided to scrap those hiking plans and head back up to Art Cook’s View Trail instead.

Horse Mesa Junction

Following the Art Cook’s View Trail toward the rim of Billings Canyon.

Lower Art Cook's View Trail

Dappled light illuminates the landscape across Billings Canyon to Horse Mesa and the Grand Mesa.

Dappled Light

Art Cook’s View Trail

Art Cook's Trail

Billings Canyon

Billings Canyon

After reaching the top of the trail, I decided to return the way I had come for better views instead of following the road back to my Jeep.

Art Cook's View Trail

Canyon & Clouds

Canyon & Clouds

Grand Mesa View

Grand Mesa View

Potholes along the trail.


Almost back to the lower trailhead…

Headed Back Down the Trail

By the way, who is Art Cook?

Along the Rim

>> Third Flats Road & Art Cook’s View Photo Gallery

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