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Rattlesnake Arches Trail is a 13.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Grand Junction, Colorado that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until December. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 13.5 miles Elevation Gain: 2,444 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

rock climbing

bird watching

running

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

Rattlesnake Canyon provides outstanding opportunities for solitude and primitive recreation. Geologic features in this area includes arches, spires, windows, giant alcoves and desert patina. Between these canyons are pinon-juniper covered mesas which slope downward to the Colorado River.

backpacking
no shade
rocky
scramble
1 day ago

My group of three hiked to the arches for a one night backpacking trip. This trails offers spectacular canyon views with unique desert geology and wildlife. Our underestimation of water availability forced us to return one day early. Even though the trail crosses multiple streams by May there is no running water. I packed 3 liters of water and it was not nearly enough for both cooking and drinking. Please be prepared for the heat, wind and dry landscape because it makes the trail significantly more difficult. In addition, the desert landscape and many trails within the Monument makes it easy to get lost. We kept following miscorrect social trails and had to use our compass. In certain sections, you have to scramble down into and then back out of different canyons. The steep terrain and climbing factor make it not suitable for young children.

backpacking
rocky
scramble
1 day ago

Despite only 3 stars for the trail overall (backpacking) the arches are 5 stars! Definitely worth the trip, though I would go earlier in the season. The air is still nice and cool in the morning and evening. There is no water on the trail and with temperatures climbing above 80 F now I recommend bringing at least 4 liters of water per person per day, if you are camping out. Also beware of the several social trails along the way. Don’t be fooled by the “obvious” trail! Follow the cairns and pay attention to your map and to your fellow hikers. We deployed a fireman’s relay to transfer our heavy loads a couple times on especially steep and rocky sections.

backpacking
no shade
rocky
scramble
3 days ago

Definitely a difficult trail, especially with overnight packs and dogs. If you do bring dogs, I recommend making sure you bring lots of extra water (4 normal plastic bottles wasn't enough for mine and I had to give him water from one of my own bottles). You should also be able to pick up your dog, and it should be athletic enough to hop rocks. Despite the difficulty, the trail's beauty was worth it, and I can't recommend it enough!

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
8 days ago

Incredible hike for desert scenery. Definitely bring lots of water as it starts to get hotter out there. If you plan on making a loop out of the upper and lower trails by scrambling through the final arch, I would recommend doing the lower section first. If you are only doing one, I would also recommend the lower section, as I thought it was much more scenic. The scramble up through the last arch is not bad but does have some major consequences if you fall. Anyone with climbing experience will be fine and most without will also be fine as long as you have decent balance and can trust your feet.

hiking
9 days ago

This is a great trail. Seems longer then 13.5 miles and I know it says dogs on leash but I don’t recommend taking your dog unless it’s physically equipped for the difficulty of this bike. There are a lot of boulders and ledges you may have to carry the dog over. Bring lots of water!

hiking
no shade
rocky
19 days ago

Awesome views throughout the whole hike! Bring lots of water, especially during summer. I depleted the 3 liters I brought with me with still a couple miles to go. There’s only a couple spots where you have to climb, nothing too difficult. Watch out for snakes

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

Did this hike alone on 4/23. Right after the trail signage that indicates 4 miles further to the arches I almost chickened out on the scramble out of the canyon, but I pushed forward and made it! The last mile to the arches is the most scenic part of the hike, sure wish I had a high clearance vehicle to cut the hike in half but clocked in at 15.4 miles round trip! Not sure how it’s 13.5 miles, I didn’t take any detours. Once I got to the final arch taking the lower trail, it was apparent you can scramble up the arch to reach the upper trail but if you are alone, I would not attempt, looks sketchy and hardly any real holds.

1 month ago

If you take the Black Ridge Road off of the top of the monument on the way to Glade Park the trail is quite a bit shorter and easier than this lists it. The road is best driven with high clearance 4WD. Great hike, beautiful arches and canyons. You can also climb up through the last arch to make the upper and lower trails into a loop trail. But this requires some class 3 and 4 scrambling with some significant exposure. If you want the best views, take the lower trail.

hiking
scramble
1 month ago

Two or three short scrambles. The first two rims you go down from are not obvious and the map is very helpful. You can scramble up through rattlesnake arch and make it a loop.

hiking
1 month ago

Absolutely fantastic! Best part is the last 2 miles of the lower trail, but the entire way is extremely scenic. Challenging due to lots of ups and downs. Brought the dog and he did great, but there are a few parts that you may have to help them either up or down the canyon walls

hiking
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

hiking
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

Did our best to make to the arches today but even with checking the map got off course a couple times. Wind picked up so will try again. It’s a beautiful hike but markers sometimes difficult to find and follow. Some of the plants are just starting to green up. Another week or two it’s going to be really great

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

I hiked this trail again 4/1/20 and had a great time, It is 13.5miles with little water unless you bring a filter and get lucky. The trailhead is at the Pollack Bench Trailhead off of Kings View Road in Fruita. There is definitely some route finding and some climbing. Dogs do not need to be on a leash, but need to be athletic as some 4 foot jumps are involved. When you get to the approximately 5 mile mark and chose between the upper arch and lower arch trail, I prefer taking the upper trail, and climbing down through the 1st arch and taking the lower trail back. Five hours or so round trip.

hiking
1 month ago

Bring lots of water. There are small portions of scrambling. Easy full day hike with some cool canyon views

backpacking
muddy
rocky
scramble
2 months ago

I hiked back towards the arches on a Friday night and camped well outside of the no camping zone which encompasses Rattlesnake Canyon. Saturday morning I struck camp and headed for the Arches. Rattlesnake Canyon is incredible! The arches and rock formations are magnificent and the view and vistas across the massive gorge are breathtaking. This hike is well worth taking. The hike in from Pollock Bench trailhead is reminiscent of hiking in the Needles district of Canyonlands National Park. The canyon and arches are on par with parts of Arches NP, but without sitting in the massive line of traffic and fighting through hikes with hundreds and thousands of others. Can't recommend this one enough. There was still snow and ice in the shadows and shaded sides of the bluffs and canyons. Nothing difficult to traverse, and as the sun came out and the temperature rose the melt began to muddy sections of the tack closer to Rattlesnake Canyon than Pollock. The trail is fairly easy to follow, the only tricky parts for me were the scrambles down, up, down, and up the canyons the trail crosses. Just make sure to take a look behind you as you come down the tail so you know what to be looking for on your way back out. This could easily be a great day hike, but having a night to enjoy the canyons was well worth it. Enjoy and be safe!

hiking
rocky
scramble
5 months ago

Hard trail but magnificent. Some bouldering and rock face in areas. 16.4 miles and 9 full hour (with about 1-1/2 hours for lunch and photo ops). No water so take enough to last you and getting a very early start is strongly suggested. Saw two others hikers only. Go prepared.

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