Press "Enter" to skip to content

Rattlesnake Canyon: West Rim Arch (Finger Arch)

After Work Adventures | Tuesday, September 5, 2023

This morning as I was leaving home on my way to work I noticed that there was a coolness to the air that I haven’t felt for a couple of months down in the Grand Valley. It certainly felt like fall is finally on the way! Since the temperature stayed nice throughout the rest of the day I thought it would be a great afternoon to go for a local hike when I got out of work. I stopped home at lunch to grab my hiking gear and then left from work and headed up into the Canyons of the Black Ridge so I could hike to West Rim Arch, which is also known as Finger Arch and is located at the upper end of Rattlesnake Canyon. I’ve been meaning to get over to the base of this arch since 2020 when I was on a kick visiting other arches in the Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness during the pandemic lockdowns, but I never got around to it and have kept putting it off for the past few years, so I was looking forward to finally getting a closer look. As an added bonus, I also got to drive the Lower Black Ridge Road for the very first time. I guess I always visit this area in the spring when the upper road is open, so it was nice different drive for me over Black Ridge this time.

I stopped short of the Rattlesnake Arches Trailhead and walked over to the upper end of Rattlesnake Canyon to search for a way down. If you look closely in the middle of this photo, you can see West Rim Arch, which would be my destination this afternoon.

Rattlesnake Canyon

I had no trouble finding a way into the canyon, but it was a bit steep, loose and bushwhacky in places.

Into Rattlesnake Canyon

As I worked my way around a point of sandstone, I walked under this tower that has broken away from the main canyon wall.

Slide Rock

Big Juniper & Canyon Wall

Big Juniper & Canyon Wall

Less than an hour later I was standing below West Rim Arch.

West Rim Arch View

Looking back up into the upper reaches of Rattlesnake Canyon that I had just come down.

Upper Rattlesnake Canyon

West Rim Arch

West Rim Arch

I continued hiking a little ways past the arch until the ledge petered out.

End of the Ledge

Finger Arch

Finger Arch

Before heading back I climbed up underneath the arch for a closer look.

Beneath the Arch

Looking straight up…

Looking Up

There was a nice big alcove just below the arch.

Arch Alcove

Most of my hike on the way back to my Jeep was in the shade, except for the part where I had to climb steeply out of the canyon. It was still a bit warm in the sun.

Split Boulder

Here’s one last view over Rattlesnake Canyon before I returned to my Jeep and drove home through the Colorado National Monument.

Rattlesnake Arches View

>> West Rim Arch Photo Gallery

One Comment

  1. Tammy
    Tammy September 6, 2023

    I most likely won’t get to this one, so I’m glad you did and thanks for sharing! That is a beautiful base around the arch.

Leave a Reply