Rattlesnake Canyon Arches
Want to witness massive arches without dealing with the crowds at a certain national park in Utah? Look no further than Rattlesnake Canyon Arches near Grand Junction.
There are nine of these magnificent natural rock structures, second most — though by a significant amount — to Arches National Park. It is a very strenuous hike, but all the ups and downs are worth the trouble thanks to tremendous views. I went with my fiancee. And long story short, we got lost for about two hours and tacked on an extra 5 miles. Hate to place the blame on this, but some of the trail signs are confusing.
Though there’s a shorter hike for those with high-clearance vehicles (from the Upper Trailhead on Glade Park), we started at the Pollock Bench Trailhead. Stay on the P1 trail before going down R1. This junction is where we got confused. The sign states that both Pollock Canyon and Rattlesnake Arches are in the same direction.
The trail ends at Rainbow Arch. Enjoy a nice lunch and rest because you’ll have to experience all those ups and downs again.
Trip log: 15 miles round trip, 3,000 feet elevation gain
Difficulty: Very strenuous
Getting there: Take Interstate 25 north. Head west on I-70. In Fruita, take exit 340. Go past two traffic circles. Make a right onto Kingsview Road and continue onto Horsethief Canyon Road. Go about 4.5 miles before reaching a large dirt parking lot to the left. Here you will find the Pollock Bench Trailhead.
FYI: www.gjhikes.com/2009/09/rattlesnake-arches.html. A trail map is available at the trailhead.