Steamboat Springs and Northwest Colorado Sights

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McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area

McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area Review

Ten miles west of Grand Junction, stretching from Fruita to just across the Utah border, the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area (formerly Colorado Canyons National Conservation Area) is rife with natural arches, along with numerous rock canyons, caves, coves, and spires. Rattlesnake Canyon has nine arches, making it the second-largest concentration of natural arches in the country. The canyon can be reached in summer from the upper end of Rim Rock Drive with four-wheel-drive vehicles or via a 7-mile hike by the intrepid.

Though much of the territory complements the red-dirt canyons of Colorado National Monument, McInnis Canyons is more accessible to horseback riding, mountain biking, all-terrain vehicle and motorcycle trails, and for trips with dogs (most of these activities aren't allowed at the monument). Designated in 2000 by act of Congress, the conservation area was created from a desire of nearby communities to preserve the area's unique scenery while allowing multiple-use recreation. Be prepared for biting gnats from late May to late July. Contact the Bureau of Land Management for a map before venturing out.

Updated: 10-01-2013

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