Access to Rattlesnake Canyon is not easy, starting with a drive into Colorado National Monument and a thirteen mile ride over a road that becomes extremely rough near the end. The trail immediately drops steeply over the first hundred yards before becoming a more gradual descent. One can't help thinking how that steep section will feel at the end of a long, hot hike. Forgetting that for the moment, I enjoyed the nice, sunny day and some lovely wildflowers, including a few cacti that are blooming. Although wildlife is supposed to be prevalent here, I only saw a few birds and a couple lizards. The collared lizard was my favorite. Spectacular views of adjacent canyons and the Colorado River also grabbed my attention.
Another half mile, downhill of course, and I came to the first arch, cleverly signed on the trail as "First Arch". To get closer to the arch, I climbed down a series of thin benches and ended up on a large bench that was the actual rim of the canyon. In addition to the arch, I got a view of the canyon floor and the Lower Trail, some 200 feet below my position. I decided right then not to consider going down to that trail.