Rattlesnake Arches Out & Back

Featured Route
in McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area, Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness, CO
  • Total Length
  • Ascent
  • Difficulty

Rattlesnake Canyon provides outstanding opportunities for solitude and primitive recreation. Geologic features in this area include arches, spires, windows, giant alcoves and desert patina. To the south are pinon-juniper covered mesas which slope downward to the Colorado River. – BLM Overview

Get Here
  • Hiking
  • Out & Back
  • Geology
  • Scenic
  • Dog Friendly
Elevation Profile

This trailhead requires at least a high clearance vehicle to reach, with 4x4 recommended. The last two miles are especially rough. If wet, the road is not passable, so be sure to check conditions. It is common to start this route further down #7142, so understand your actual travel distance may be greater than the depicted route. 

The Upper Road access is open from April 15 to August 14. The Lower Road access is open from August 15 to February 14. Motorized travel is prohibited from February 15 - April 15 each year (weather permitting).

Start Hiking
For ½mi
You have three main choices at the junction where this segment ends. 1) Shortest (depicted in this Route): take a right here and then left in 0.2 miles to follow the main trail that winds down to all the arches.  2) One mile additional out & back to an overlook: take a left here and proceed 0.5 miles to an overlook of Cedar Tree Arch (aka: First Arch) then turn back and continue as depicted in this Route. 
Continue Hiking
For 1.3mi
Continue hiking around to the first arch in the far northwest of this route. 
Continue Hiking
For 362ft
Continue Hiking
For 1159ft
Continue Hiking
For 1244ft
Continue Hiking
For 820ft
Continue Hiking
For 673ft
Upon reaching Cedar Tree Arch, there are two options to get back. 1) Back the way you came (depicted here and recommended).  2) Scramble up steep slickrock to the upper trail. Generally not recommended, as this requires good traction, skill, and confidence, but it is possible. 
Continue Hiking
For 2.6mi
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