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Rattlesnake Canyon Arches Trail - R1

 4.5 (4)

A tour of the second greatest concentration of Arches outside of Utah with a 3rd/4th class scramble.

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Point to Point

5,715' 1,742 m


4,619' 1,408 m


1,335' 407 m


739' 225 m



Avg Grade (4°)


Max Grade (31°)

Dogs Unknown

Features Cave · Views · Wildlife

Backcountry camping restrictions from the BLM - "NOTE: Overnight camping is prohibited in and around the arches, along the cherry stem road (last 1.5 miles of access road), and the parking area at the trailhead. Use of firepans and/or stoves may be prohibited during high fire danger periods." Check with the BLM regarding fire restrictions if you plan on camping out.


Starting from the Pollock Bench Trailhead, follow signage for the trail Pollock Bench Trail - P1 as it climbs up out of the parking lot. Around 1.5 miles, there will be a junction, stay right heading for Rattlesnake Canyon Arches Trail - R1.

There will be a junction at mile 1.8 for horses, but continue to the next junction to join the Rattlesnake Canyon Arches Trail - R1 most directly. Once on the main trail, it is well marked with sign posts, cairns and a well worn track as it weaves in and out of washes, and over sandstone slickrock.

After a long and loose climb up to the beginning of the long traverse, around mile 6, you'll come to a junction with the Upper Rattlesnake Arches Trail. Go right cruising over flat ground as you head to the end of the route on the final sandstone cliff formation. When you round the final corner, start looking up and left to see the arches. You'll pass by a number of smaller arches, finally arriving at Rattlesnake Arch (the main event). Continue another quarter of a mile to the final arch (Cedar Arch). Here there will be a sign indicating you have reached the end of the trail. You can either turn around here, or scramble through the arch via some steep chopped steps (Class 3/4) and join the Upper Rattlesnake Arches Trail.

If you choose to scramble, go through the arch and head right to get on a doubletrack trail. At the first junction you reach, head left and down off the top of the mesa back to the trail you came up earlier. Retrace your steps all the way back to the junction with the P1 - Pollock Bench Trail. Either follow your steps back to the car for the most direct route, or take a right to join the P1 - Pollock Bench Trail, either way you'll eventually end up back at the first junction of the day - take a right to retrace the final 1.6 miles back to your car.

Flora & Fauna

Lots of standard high-desert pinyon-juniper ecology and prime mountain lion terrain.


Shared By:

Andrew Walters

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 4 votes


  4.5 from 4 votes
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in Colorado


45 Views Last Month
6,800 Since Jul 17, 2015



Rattlesnake Arch #Nomad_Dave for size reference. Nature is beautiful and part of who we are but also unforgiving and deadly, so take care of yourself out there.
Oct 27, 2019 near Loma, CO
Cedar arch (or First Arch). The scramble goes up the middle.
Nov 1, 2015 near Loma, CO
Rattlesnake Arch
Nov 1, 2015 near Loma, CO
Span from above
Nov 20, 2015 near Loma, CO
Rattlesnake Canyon
Nov 1, 2015 near Loma, CO
Looking up at the final arch and the 4th class scramble route (contour from right to left until you reach the chopped steps and then head up through the arch).
Jul 17, 2015 near Loma, CO



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Jun 6, 2019
Carolyn Jungels
Nov 10, 2018
Cynthia B.
May 27, 2017
Tracey Jensen