Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness Trails
Black Ridge Canyons offers the preeminent canyon wilderness experience in Colorado. It drapes across the northern end of the Uncompahgre Plateau, where the plateau bends upward abruptly out of wide desert plains along the Colorado-Utah state line. Twenty miles of the Colorado River (through Ruby and Horsethief canyons) form the area’s northern boundary. Three tributaries carve serpentine canyons between sheer walls of Wingate Sandstone in the heart of the wilderness. Black Ridge Canyons is a geologic twin to Colorado National Monument, but with a much greater variety of landforms. Whereas the monument features only relatively short, dry canyons and a few rock pinnacles, Black Ridge Canyons contains three major canyon systems much longer than anything in the monument, innumerable spires and pinnacles, the second-greatest concentration of natural arches in the Southwest, perennial streams with rich riparian vegetation, and a huge 300-foot cavern cut by a stream meander in Mee Canyon. The Colorado River through Black Ridge has been recommended for scenic designation under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. The BLM estimates that the river alone receives 7,000 visitor days of use per year. Black Ridge Canyons contains critical wildlife habitat for many species. Desert bighorn sheep have been reintroduced into the area; the herd presently consists of 30–40 animals. Deer, mountain lion, and many raptors—including the peregrine falcon—also inhabit Black Ridge Canyons. The river corridor provides wintering grounds for bald eagles, and active golden eagle nesting sites exist within the area. This trail guide includes descriptions of devils canyon, rattlesnake arches from Flume Creek Canyon, Rattlesnake Arches from Hunter Access Road, Knowles Canyon, Jones Canyon, and Ruby Canyon.
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Directions to: Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness Trailsprint directions
Trail Statistics & Information
|Nearby City||Grand Junction|
|Skill Level||Easy to Strenuous|
|Season||Best Spring through Fall|
|Trailhead Elevation||4,700 ft|
|Top Elevation||6,800 ft|
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