39° 9' 16.1964'' N 108° 43' 48.6696'' W

Trip Report: Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness

Aaron McHugh

Returning from four days on the edges of Colorado/Utah border exploring the Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness. Here’s what I captured in my journal.

John Steinbeck wrote these words in his iconic American road trip book Travels With Charlie, “People don’t take trips—trips take people.” We -found ourselves taken up and in-on this desert 🌵 adventure. Spring reached the canyon floor, awakening vibrant life. Shadows tucked into crimson barrel cactus petals, emerald propellor wings of hummingbirds, bush cooked cattails in buttered sauté, silence as our companion. #keepgoing #worklifeplay

Dave navigating the narrow ledge traverse descending into Mee Canyon.

Length: From day hiking to 3-5 nights backpacking

Description: Located outside of Fruita, CO, known as a mountain biking wonderland, neighboring The Colorado National Monument, the terrain is spectacular. Trails are marked, but not heavily managed. Cell signals are reliable on top of the canyon, but not below. Rattlesnake Canyon, Mee Canyons, Knowles Canyons offers numerous arches, side canyons, and expansive landscapes. We trail ran Rattlesnake Canyon in the morning then backpacked into Mee Canyon for two nights, hiking our way to the Colorado River and back. Accessible water is the great unknown, so overpack and don’t plan on the intermittent springs. For our early May trip, surprised, we discovered plentiful water options. Trails are marked with cairns and there not many signs. This is not a National Park, so be prepared for a wilderness experience.

Season: Spring and Fall

Mee Canyon alcove providing shade and flat tent sites.
Rattlesnake canyon with dawn’s early light illuminating the underbelly of the arch.
Arches abound in the Black Ridge Wilderness.