Scenic USA - Colorado

Rattlesnake Canyon

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Rattlesnake Canyon - Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness, Grand Junction, Colorado

Photo by Albert Yanowich Jr.
Inset Photos by Craig Shelly and Rob Jones

     Colorado's unique Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness takes South American Arch - Rattlesnake Canyon, Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness, Colorado in 75,550 acres of the ancient Uncompahgre Plateau, created about 70 million years ago. Here, the unchecked Colorado River has chiseled its way through miles of soft sandstone, creating Horsethief and Ruby canyons. An additional seven side canyons, from Fruita to the Utah border, create some of the state's most spectacular canyonlands scenery.
     Bordered on Interstate 70 and the Colorado River to the north, Rattlesnake Canyon holds nine major natural arches, one of the main reasons for its popularity. Keep in mind that this is wilderness land where access takes visitors over a rugged unpaved road to Mee Canyon and then on out to the Rattlesnake Canyon trailhead. Alternate access routes require a challenging hike from western Fruita's Kings View Estates, leading backpackers Hole in the Arch - Rattlesnake Canyon, Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness, Colorado seven miles over the Pollack Bench Trail. Either route leads to adventure in this section of McInnis Canyons NCA, a trip through a vast and beautiful Colorado Plateau. Also viewed as a travel in time, western Colorado was a land where dinosaurs roamed and their fossils still remain. Paleo-Indians hunted and gathered food here 13,000 years ago, and more recently members of the Fremont culture, responsible for the majority of rock art and pictographs, called the area home around year 500 AD.
     Whether you decide on backpacking in solitude, floating through the beauty of Ruby Canyon, or camping in Rabbit Valley, this national conservation land offers unmatched experiences in a wild and still untrammeled canyonland.

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