Rattlesnake Arches Trail

MODERATE 50 reviews

Rattlesnake Arches Trail is a 14.1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Grand Junction, Colorado that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. 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
14.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2424 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

horseback riding

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.

hiking
17 days ago

1 month ago

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.

Easy to lose the trail, had to turn around. Trying again with app. Hope we make it this time.

1 month ago

You can get to the top of the Arches by taking a right instead of a left at the last. 2.2 trail split (loop). Some people choose to climb up through rainbow arch, thus the "loop." Pretty sketchy if you mess up but, a little girl said it was easy..gulp...I wish I saw the route they took. #mountainkids

hiking
1 month ago

This trail is great. Seems like just a plain trail for a while then boom you're at one arch then another. Hiked in and had lunch we brought then hiked out. Dogs went nuts at one point but never saw why. Just growled and kept looking around like they weren't sure either. Bring lots of water.

1 month ago

One of my favorites. Best in the spring and fall and well worth the miles.

1 month ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

3 months ago

This is a poorly marked trail. If you start from the Pollock trail, the beginning is well marked, but about half a mile after splitting off toward Rattlesnake Arches you start hitting exposed rock areas. Other reviews mentioned cairns...they are great where they haven't been knocked over, and a knocked-over cairn is just a pile of rocks that is indistinguishable from the surrounding scree. I was clearly not the only person to have difficulty following this trail because those rock areas have several well-worn, false trails leading away in different directions and all you can do is pick one, follow it until ends, then backtrack and pick a new one. This wastes a huge amount of time...in the desert sun.

This trail (as I hiked it today) was potentially dangerous. If you bring enough water for a 14 mile hike and spend several hours (cumulative) searching for the right path, you could be in serious trouble.

I made it half way through this trail, and had to turn back because I was running low on water. Maybe next time I will drive in the back way.

hiking
4 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

THIS DOES NOT HAVE TO BE MORE THAN A 5M HIKE!!!! While you will probably have trouble getting to the trailhead (definitely need a 4WD..we drove an Xterra and still had to park .4m from the trailhead and walk because it got so bad. Also, the spiderwebbed roads are not well marked until you get past the confusion) it is very much worth it! We hiked to the first arch or arch overlook (.5m). Climbed down, and then through the arch...hit all of the other arches and then turned around and backtracked (back through arch). Climbing down/up the arch is very doable however, I would not recommend doing so without another person with you. There are spots where we had to boost one another but there is also plenty of places to get your footing. If we had not parked the car where we did, we only would have hiked 3.5-4 miles. Once you past the last arch...you are just hiking around and up the canyon so we just turned around. Trail got hard to follow once or twice, just hug the canyon and pay close attention! We almost missed one!! So much better than Arches National Park if you ask me, totally secluded but just as breathtaking. Plus, if you tell them where you are headed they will not charge you a fee. Do your research before going (always)!

backpacking
6 months ago

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

hiking
6 months ago

We did the hike from the Rattlesnake Arches Trailhead... get there by driving into Colorado National Monument and turning onto Black Ridge Road taking you out of the NPS park and into the Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness area. The dirt road you take to get there is pretty rough at certain points definitely requiring 4x4 to get past some of the obstacles in the road. We actually parked about a quarter mile from the trailhead because there was a huge rocky obstacle we didn't want to go over in our SUV. Nevertheless we made it to the trailhead and it's 5 miles total out and back from the trailhead instead of doing the whole 14 miler from Fruita. The hike was on flat ground most of the way right to the big eye candy arches and formations that are truly amazing to walk alongside with just as cool formations in the canyon behind you. Bring water and sunscreen!!

backpacking
6 months 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.

6 months ago

backpacking
6 months 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.