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Upper Rattlesnake Arches Trail



1.6 mile 2.5 kilometer point to point


Ascent: 61' 18 m
Descent: -277' -85 m
High: 5,860' 1,786 m
Low: 5,625' 1,715 m


Avg Grade: 4% (2°)
Max Grade: 15% (9°)


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Trail shared by Andrew Walters

A long rough drive and short jaunt to views of the arches or a technical down climb to see them all.

Andrew Walters

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.


Driving here is probably the hardest part, and if you are up for a longer hike, the Pollock Bench Trailhead and Rattlesnake Canyon Arches Trail - R1 are highly recommended. To get to the trailhead, find your way to the junction of Rim Rock Drive and Black Ridge Road within the Colorado National Monument (near the radio towers). Depending on the time of year and current conditions, either the upper or lower road will be open and it will be clearly signed. If it has been wet or it is raining this route is not advised.

Take either the upper or lower road to the point where they converge on top of the mesa and proceed west and then north taking every right when a junction appears. You should eventually end at the Upper Rattlesnake Canyon Arches Trail - R1 parking area. From there, head west .5 mile to reach a junction. Stay left to head towards the top of Cedar Arch. Around 1 mile from the parking area you'll reach Cedar Arch.

You can either view it from above, or scramble down through it to reach the Rattlesnake Canyon Arches Trail - R1 where you can view more of the arches from the better vantage point, from below. The Upper Rattlesnake Arch trail continues for .6 miles along the top of the mesa with sweeping views of the entire Grand Valley. Retrace you steps to the car when you are done exploring and get ready for a long drive back. This trail is best used as a connector section on the loop section of the Rattlesnake Arches and Pollock Bench Hike.

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Family Friendly, ADA Accessible, Need to Know, Dogs Allowed, Flora & Fauna


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Jun 6, 2019
Carolyn Jungels
Jul 15, 2017
Brett Montgomery
Jul 15, 2017
Jay Puhler
Jul 23, 2016
Alan Cardenas
A good hike from the upper parking area on a hot summer day. Bring plenty of water. Great views of the arches and down towards the Colorado River. 5mi — 2h 00m

Trail Ratings

  3.5 from 2 votes


  3.5 from 2 votes
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in Colorado


91 Views Last Month
2,885 Since Jul 18, 2015



Cedar arch (or First Arch). The scramble goes up the middle.
Nov 1, 2015 near Loma, CO


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