Explore the most popular nature trips trails in Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

A relatively easy hike past an old cabin that looks to have been restored.

2 months ago

We were originally going to attempt Rattlesnake Arches but decided to break it off & do Pollock Bench instead. It's a pleasant but not spectacular hike with pleasant but not spectacular canyon views. Solitude was a big plus - we only saw two other people on a Tuesday morning in August.

The signage isn't great at times, but we found the Hiking Project written directions to be very valuable.


Unlike Monument Canyon, mentioned by C.A. below, this one goes around the rim of a canyon and not down into it. We enjoyed both - your mileage may vary.

2 months ago

Nice hike with great views. If going clock wise up inner Flume Canyon be sure to keep an eye on the trail as you will need to climb to the right eventually to continue to Pollack trail otherwise the Canyon dead ends at a bowl/dry waterfall. It is a neat spot, there was some poison oak and no way up so had to backtrack. Hiking in August with 95F + temps requires extra water. Drank almost 3 liters and still ran out about a mile from the trailhead. Only had time for two hikes during my visit to GJ and if I had to choose then Monument Canyon wins hands down over this trail.

Quick and easy little hike. Perfect for families.

3 months ago

Nice views of the canyons. Neat lizards in that area also.

We weren’t sure that this would be all that great of a trail to start, however once we got into it, it turned out to be a great hike with some amazing views. Glad to take the trial in a counter clockwise direction.

Spectacular views! A challenge but definitely worth it. Plan ahead, stop at the Colorafo National Monument visitor center or the BLM office and get a map. Road from CMN to the trailhead (upper) is steep and rocky, and you won't get all the way to the trailhead unless you have serious high clearance 4WD. I got within about 3/4 mile in a Forester. Minimal road and trail markings; map and a hiking app essential. Hike is mostly flat with a couple (short) steep and "are you serious?!!" portions. At the "first arch" sign, find the trail to the right to descend the mesa and hike around the backside. As soon as you round the end of the mesa you will begin seeing to the 7-9 arches. I was told you can't make it a loop so round-trip was 6.5 miles; but a (younger!) group I met on the way back was told you can scramble back up just past the first (last) arch. Oh, well! Watch the weather. I had some overcast and it was great -- but if sunny it would be incredibly hot. And the road could be impassible if muddy.

4 months ago

This is definitely not a moderate hike. There were some sketchy ledges where you have be very careful and make sure you have a really good grip. Granted, we had a 30 lbs pack because we were backpacking so if you're just doing a day hike it would probably be easier. Also, bring lots and lots of water. It gets very hot and there are no sources of water. Whatever you think you'll need, double it. It was a very pretty hike with lots of beautiful scenery and not a lot of people on the trail. Overall, we had a blast.

Footnote: With lightweight packs and trail running shoes made it a 5.2 slab free solo climb.

Great hike with fantastic views of red sandstone walls and formations. We found the trail pretty easy to navigate other than when we arrived at Pollack Canyon. What helped us immensely is that we saw the trail sign in the bottom of the canyon which helped us navigate down the cliff on a trail marked with cairns to the trail sign. When going or coming, it is helpful to look for cairns and the trail sign in the canyon to help you navigate. We also found climbing through the 1st arch to be about a 5.2 free solo climb. Short but definitely not for someone without rock climbing experience. The weather on our hike was moderate with cloud cover most of the day. Even with that we each drank about 3 liters of water. Definitely worth the hike but also very challenging for someone who’s not used to navigating a trail and does not like exposure.

on Rattlesnake Arches Trail

5 months ago

Beautiful hike but not well marked at all. Bring plenty of water and be careful when getting on slanted rocks to locate trail, slipped on loose rock and broke my leg on this trail 3 miles in! My friend and I were so lost trying to get me out. Trails need to be marked better.

Absolutely beautiful hike! A few points I will make, I would say this is closer to 15 miles round trip so BE PREPARED! Double the water you think you need and allow for 7-8 hours for round trip. The trail is not well marked in many places, we were lost for half of a very terrible hour. The way out is worth the effort, the way back is tiresome. Not sure I’ll do this again. A gps device is highly recommended for this hike.

Wide variety of opinions on this trail. I found it to be a destination hike. I didn't expect much to see enroute to the arch but instead found it to be gorgeous all the way in. A lot of varied scenery, nice canyons, overlooks with views. I also found the trail easy to follow and had no trouble staying on route.

I would agree I would not try to climb out unless experienced with class 5 climbing. Further the effort to ascend under the arch and then descend again back to the trail would not be worth the energy expended doing it.

Overall a great hike. Recommend to all.

5 months ago

Short hike to a restored pioneer cabin, some views, shares trailhead with the Paleo trail. Worth doing in when in the area.

5 months ago

Lovely views while hiking the canyon ridge. Got completely lost after turning right at the R1 sign hiked past the sign with some difficult rock climbs up and down with an overnight pack. Lost the trail
Several times and never found our way down into the canyon. I wonder if the sign was incorrect? App didn’t seem to be working at the tome. If we are ever back in western co will try it again!

5 months ago

The trail is great with some incredible views of the valley. However, the hike was no joke. Moderate is a very kind way of putting it. Some of the climbs were fairly intense and the markers were scarce. If you plan on doing this hike know the following:
1. The hike is closer to 14-15 miles if you are starting from the PB parking lot.
2. Take whatever water you think is appropriate, double that and then bring more. Trust me.
3. Allow for at least 6 hours to complete.
4. The arches are over rated IMO. The views of the valley just prior to reaching them were way better.
5. Dont listen to someone if they say you can climb "through" the final arch. You cant
6. Bring a gps device. The trail markings are non existent in a few critical areas. Without one you wont be able to find where you need to go

Started from the Pollock Bench TH. Great views of the monument but relatively boring trek first 1.8 miles. after that point, thus trail is amazing. lots of walking into canyons directly without switchbacks. trail is hard to identify at points up until the last 3 miles to the destination point. used my wits and the app to find the trail when needed. I'd say the trail is about 25% shady, I picked a day with good cloud cover. I opted to climb through rainbow arch, wasn't as bad as I thought and took my time as there were some solid wind gusts. Once through the arch, go to the right for one last climb and follow the trail. Nice elevation gain throughout, about 13.25 miles out and back with the shortcut. Very peaceful and serene....only saw 3 hikers. One of my all time faves so far! Only negatives: Seeing orange peels thrown on the trail and dog feces. Pick up after yourselfs jerks!

Beautiful hike!! Not much elevation change, so it’s good for an easy afternoon. The views are about as good as it gets. This trail connects with lots of others. Be sure to consider spending more time in McInnis by using this beautiful trail as a means for getting further into the wonderful sandstone palace.

Fantastic trail! I did this trail a few years ago and found it hard to follow. However, with the new signs, following "R1" all the way made it easy to get there and back without getting lost. I think this can be done in about 4 hours if you know the trail and can move quickly. Moderate to difficult in some parts. Definitely bring water and food. Might not be great for some kids or dogs with the class 3-4 downclimbing sections. Otherwise, amazing trail in the spring.

This is a great overnight backpacking trip. Difficult trail to follow once you drop down into the canyon. Didn't make it to the arches due to the fact we lost the trail, so we wound up camping over the lip of the canyon once we picked the trail back up. There's a good bit of cairns to watch out for - some are placed where you shouldn't go and some are placed where you should go, so they can be deceiving. There's some scrambling involved and if you bring dogs, be prepared to help them scramble as well. Bring water and high protein snacks because you're going to spend a lot of energy in certain areas. Worked up a good sweat even when the temperature was in the mid 50's.

With all that being said, the views along the way are pretty amazing! It's well worth it. Going back again this weekend to make it to the arches.

Really enjoyed hiking here

7 months ago

nice views

8 months ago

Hiked this with perfect weather (Nov-2017), should have read more of the reviews beacuse it took us a while to realize we had to hike through the arch (which isn't for everyone; some will be uncomfortbale climbing up).

Stunning!! Go if you can! The road to get to the 5 mile hike is horrible! Have good clearance. We got stuck and had to get a tow. Otherwise it is one beautiful hike! You’ll want to spend the day there so bring a lunch, a camera, a hammock, a friend, and lots of water. :) enjoy!

8 months ago

Incredible! Strenuous with some dangerous rock scrambles. Very difficult to follow trail so use your app!! Climb down and up from canyons to ridges with beautiful views of sagebrush, juniper and resident birds. Ferruginous structures abound! The arches are all the way at the end, but very worth it. I climbed down through first arch - 5.8 free climb slabby and sussed out, I would recommend hiking to the end of the trail and then deciding to climb up if you have it in you, this can cut out a mile or so. Did this on a 50 degree February day, hiked very fast and finished in 5 hours, but should plan for closer to 8 hours with plenty of water even in the winter.

I thought this trail was beautiful. I started from the upper rattlesnake arch trail head, which makes this hike around 7 miles instead of 14. The trail head requires 4wd, though only for the last 2 miles really (of course there wasn't much snow on the ground. ) You can make this trail a loop, cutting off a lot but you have to climb through the first arch, (or last if you cut down to Pollock bench first) but it seemed pretty steep and the dog couldn't make it. So then we hiked back. The trail sign that indicates the end is a little hard to see as it is not actually on the trail, I added about 1/2 mile one way thinking "there's supposed to be a sign". It doesn't help that you can't really see the second to last arch until you're looking back wondering where the hell the sign is. The arches were so beautiful, honestly I kept saying to myself "this is amazing! I can't believe it! " Well worth the effort to get there.

One of my all-time favorite hikes but I have to disagree with the "moderate" rating. There is significant trail-braiding that makes it super hard to follow. There are some class 3 sections that are really exposed. If you hike in the summer, you will need at least 4 liters of water and know that shade is almost non-existent on this 14-mile hike. But the arches are worth it . Second-largest collection of natural arches in the world. It's gorgeous. I know there are other, easier ways to the arches but that's not the point The trail as listed and described on this page is awesome, challenging, beautiful, solitary and hot. Really really hot. 4 liters of water, minimum. I also recommend a GPS. I built a couple of cairns to help those who came after. If you successfully find this route, you might think about doing the same.

10 months ago

November 26. Absolutely beautiful day! Temperature was 55-65 degrees. Make sure to take water.

Spectacular hike but make sure you bring Lots of water! Stunning views and well worth the effort. Hiked this in June with a friend and had a great time.

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