Scenic USA - Colorado

South American Arch

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Rattlesnake Canyon - Fruita, Colorado

Photo by Craig Shelley
Craig's Hiking Blog

     Not far from I-70 and the Colorado National Monument, a few intrepid explorers enjoy getting away from it all in a rugged, high desert canyonland made up of 75,000 primeval acres. Part of the Black Ridge Canyon Wilderness, Rattlesnake Canyon is a hiker's paradise, laced with plenty of natural arches, spires, petroglyphs, giant alcoves and countless acres of solitude. Here in this section of the Uncompahgre Highland there are no visitor centers, snack bars or gift shops, just the second greatest concentration of natural arches in America. This Colorado canyonland is truly a wilderness area, accessed by primitive roads and trails. Rattlesnake, Devils, Mee and Horsethief canyons may be one of the only remote wilderness areas with cell phone service as I-70 passes within a few miles. Even with cell phone service, this area is not for the unprepared. Although it's a day-use area, getting there, stopping for photographs and tackling the five mile hike (r/t) could take up the majority of the day.
      A large part of Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness, and within McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area, Rattlesnake Canyon filled with intriguing side canyons, spectacular cliffs and lined with a variety of arch formations. This wonderful scene features a chilly January view of South American Arch. A closer study reveals why this is so appropriately named.

   Area Map
   Trail Map and Access Notes

Additional Points of Interest


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