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Rattlesnake Canyon and Arches Trails

Basics
Location:
Near Grand Junction
Length:
3-14 miles
Difficulty:
Intermediate,
Difficult
Time:
2 - 8 hours
Trailhead Elevation:
4600 feet
Season:
April - November

Description

Rattlesnake Canyon/Arches trail is located within the Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness. Rattlesnake Canyon with its nine arches, is the second largest concentration of natural arches in the country. Extensive canyons and majestic uplands offer visitors spectacular scenery and solitude. The areas pinyon/juniper, sagebrush and riparian vegetation provide habitat for various wildlife species including deer, mountain lion and a herd of bighorn sheep as well as bald and golden eagles.

There are restroom at the Pollock Bench trailhead, but there are no facilities at the upper trailhead and Colorado River access.

Books

Details

Location:
Near Grand Junction
Length:
3-14 miles
Lower trailhead: 14 miles round trip
Upper trailhead: 3 miles round trip
Difficulty:
Intermediate
Difficult
Time:
2 - 8 hours
Upper Trailhead: 2 hrs
Pollock Bench: 8 hrs
Pollock Bench is best done as an overnight trip.
Trailhead Elevation:
4600 feet
Upper Trailhead at 5800
Elevation Change:
Upper Trailhead: 460'' Pollock Bench: 820''
Season:
April - November

Map + Directions

Basic Directions

Upper Trailhead (most popular). From Grand Junction - take I-70 west to the Fruita Exit (#19). Turn left at off ramp and cross back over I-70 and follow the signs to Colorado National Monument (CNM). Drive 11 miles from CNM entrance station, turn right at the Glade Park Store turn off sign. Drive .2 miles to the "Black Ridge Access Roads". Stay on the Black Ridge access road for 13 miles to the Rattlesnake Arches trailhead. CAUTION: High clearance 4X4 vehicles are required for last 1.5 miles of road to trailhead because of steep grades. NOTE: There are 2 roads leading to the Arches Trailhead, the Upper Road and the Lower Road. Use of these roads is seasonally rotated for motorized travel. The Upper Road is open from April 15 - August 15 and the Lower Road from August 15 - February 15. From February 15 - April 15 no motorized travel allowed on either road. CAUTION: If the road appears wet, do not attempt to travel on it. NOTE: Rattlesnake Canyon Arches trail is part of the Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness, no motorized or mechanized travel is allowed off the Upper or Lower roads.

Pollock Bench: From Grand Junction, take I-70 west to the Fruita exit (#19), turn left at off ramp and cross back over I-70 and go 1.5 miles to Kingsview Estates. Turn right into the subdivision and stay on the main road until it turns to a dirt road. Drive approximately 6 miles to parking area/trailhead on the left side of the road. Follow the Pollock Bench trail until you come to a junction on the trail, going left - will take you to Pollock Canyon or going right will take you to Rattlesnake Canyon/Rattlesnake Arches trail. The trail is marked by rock cairns (small rocks stacked atop each other) and white arrows. The trail isn't heavily used but is fairly well defined. Best done during cooler weather or as an overnight trip. Creeks in the area usually have little to no water in them. Plan to pack your water in. This is a physically strenuous trail, lots of ups and downs.

Colorado River: 3.3 miles down river from the Loma boat launch on river left is the mouth of Rattlesnake Canyon. This is a steep, strenuous undefined game trail. Travel up the canyon approximately 1.5 miles in the east drainage, steep ascent up the canyon to connect to the Arches Loop Trail.


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