birding

nature trips

walking

Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness on the northwest flank of the Uncompahgre Plateau is characterized by the high, east-west trending Black Ridge dissected by seven major red rock canyon systems, draining into the Colorado River. Canyons vary in length from several miles to twelve miles in length and may contain interesting side canyons. Geological features in these canyons include spires, windows, giant alcoves and desert patina. Canyons may reach a depth of almost 1,000 feet, forming spectacular redrock cliffs. Spring runoff and summer thunderstorms create glistening waterfalls and plunge pools. The area contains the second largest concentration of natural arches in the world. Vegetation in the meandering canyon bottoms include pinyon-juniper, grasses, and cottonwoods, willow and box elder. The upland mesas contain a dense stands of pinyon-juniper with some sagebrush parks. Cryptobiotic soils are well developed in the upland area. Wildlife viewing may include deer, mountain lion, desert bighorn sheep, along with golden and bald eagles.

on Rustler's Loop

hiking
13 days ago

Beautiful trail that winds through the desert and leads to several river overlooks! It was a perfect short hike for the evening once the temperatures cool off.

backpacking
28 days ago

Splendid hike! Camping was simple and peaceful. Make sure to bring plenty of water!

backpacking
29 days ago

My Wife, dog, and I made this trip an overnight backpacking trip. Solid info was a bit hard to find and a little ambiguous. From Fruita, you can access the Pollock bench trailhead by following 340 until you get to Kings View rd, turn right and follow this road until you get to the Pollock Bench trailhead. Entering at this trailhead is the 15.5 mile out and back version of this trail. From the start, follow P1 (Pollock) until you see R1 (Rattlesnake), this is the split towards Rattlesnake Canyon/Arches. The trail is not that hard to follow as long you know how to look for cairns and to realize when a false trail is blocked off by rocks or logs placed over them. This version of the trial is 5 miles until you reach the 'loop' for the arches. We set up camp 5 miles in and then hiked the 2.2 miles (one way) to the arches. There are some class 2/3 scrambles to navigate, but nothing too intense. The last mile to mile and a half (before the arches loop) is steep UP and where the majority of your elevation gain comes from. The arches loop is fairly flat and easy. We started at 8am on Saturday and finished around 10am on Sunday. As other have said, there is no water, so bring it all with you. We each carried 5.5 liters and the dog carried 2. This was enough, but would not have wanted any less.

There is also the 5 mile round trip version of the trail to see the arches, this is accessed by Rimrock dr (via the National Park) and then following Blackridge road to the rattlesnake arches trailhead.

hiking
1 month ago

Lovely Sunday morning hike! Pretty easy hike and pretty views!

backpacking
1 month ago

Did this as an overnight backpack trip with 7 women. Requires removing packs and handing them down at the final drop down into the bottom of Pollack, and then some removing and handing up on the ascent a half mile later. Great camp spot opportunities at about mile marker 4, between some large rock formations. Dropped heavy packs there and continued on to the arches.
The "short cut" through the last arch "Rainbow" is rather challenging and not for the feint of heart. It requires steep rock climbing. The only saving grace is the grippy sandstone. With 7 women of varying heights, it took lots of shoving, pushing, and pulling each other up to make it to the top. That being said, it felt amazing once we did, and the ability to cut off a mile from the return trip was great. Warning: if you take the short cut, at the top TURN RIGHT for the short cut. If you turn left you will follow the ridge and add back on the mileage. Happy trekking.

I wasn't in love with this trail the trail was clear not many signs got lost 3 times I never did see the aches maybe I'll fly in so I can. Most definitely do not take a baby on your back

This was a wonderful hike with many beautiful views.

Amazing. Definitely recommend camping out there. BLM asks you camp about 200 paces from the trail. It is about 7mi from pollock bench TH to the arches. The trail is flat for the first mile or 2, then begins to descend and then is flat again until you reach Pollock Canyon which is a steep in and out and back up on flat for a bit until more intense incline up to the last part which is all flat. This is about 5 mi in where the trail stops inclining and it's a 2mi walk to the arches. I camped in this area... A few points of consideration:
1. Study the map before going as the trail is hard to follow and there are many "false trails" created by people who have gone astray
2. Don't forget this app will show your location on the map-even in airplane mode. This will help you check and even find your way back to trail.
3. Bring enough water- obviously
4. Once you get into Pollock Canyon, and are trying to find your way out, there are 2 brown tall and skinny signs showing you where to go to take the trail out and continue towards the arches. Note, if you find yourself heading down the canyon looking for the signs you've gone too far.
5. Just pay attention to the trail ahead and any trail markers (signs, stacked rocks, juniper logs blocking a false trail, etc.) and you'll be good. Don't just stare down at your feet or you will easily follow "false trails"

This is well worth the effort and is an amazingly scenic and diverse adventure.

great landscape and arches and not very crowded! camped near the black ridge wilderness area and heard mountain lions at night. such a hidden gem.

Amazing hike, beautiful views the entire way. Trail was not as clearly marked as some and got lost briefly a couple times. There are a few scrambles that were slightly nerve racking for me (I'm kind of a wuss) but totally doable. The shortcut is through the last arch. Overall great trail I definitely recommend it to everyone just come prepared with snacks and lots of water!

took this for my first real mountain biking trail. It is marked with hints for newbies like me and the difficulty increases just enough to challenge new riders. the sights are beautiful! and the trail is a blast!!

on Rustler's Loop

hiking
2 months ago

I imagine it's a better trail for mountain biking. So so for hiking. Nice overlook of the Colorado River at one point.