Canyons of the Black Ridge Wilderness
Thursday, May 7, 2020
This evening I headed out after work again to continue my local arch hunting endeavors within the Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness. I drove over Black Ridge for the second time this week, but this time I continued all the way to the Rattlesnake Arches Trailhead at the very end of the road. I had no intentions of visiting the popular arches in Rattlesnake Canyon this evening, instead, I was going to look for the lesser-known Lonesome Lips Arch which is located at the edge of a small mesa above a short unnamed canyon that is closer to the Colorado River. As I started descending the Rattlesnake Arches Trail I quickly spotted the arch I was looking at far below and headed that direction.
I turned right at the trail junction on the lower bench and hiked away from the Rattlesnake Arches toward the Pollock Bench Trailhead, but soon I got off the trail and started making my way through the backcountry.
I decided to visit the arch from below first and then I would climb back up onto the mesa for a view from above, so I followed a very steep and loose game trail to the bench below the mesa.
I ended up descending about 1,000 feet from where I parked my Jeep at the trailhead to reach the bench below the arch.
Less than an hour after leaving the trailhead I was looking up at the arch from below.
Lonesome Lips Arch
Next, it was time to start my climb back up onto the mesa so I could get a view from above.
Following the rim of the mesa.
Lonesome Lips Arch from above.
Before returning to my Jeep, I thought it would be fun to hike out to the very northern tip of the mesa I was on for a view over the Colorado River into Horsethief Canyon.
Here is a view from the Horsethief Canyon Overlook. It was very windy on this point, so much so that I could barely hold the camera still for a shot! There was a raft below on the river that looked like it was struggling against the wind that was coming up the river, which didn’t look like a lot of fun.
I returned to the Rattlesnake Arches Trail and then it was easy hiking all the way back to my Jeep.
Here’s a view over the small mesa I was just hiking across.
If you look closely in the middle of this photo, you can see Lonesome Lips Arch in the shadows.
Another evening view over the Grand Valley as I reached the top of the trail. I returned to my Jeep about 30 minutes before sunset after hiking about 7.5 miles.
Shortly after leaving the trailhead on my way back home, I stopped at an overlook of Rattlesnake Canyon just before sunset.
Rattlesnake Canyon Sunset