Rifle Arch is an excellent cool/cold weather crag 7 miles north of the town of Rifle. The 500 foot high, sandstone slabs soak up the sun for most of the day making it one of the better winter cragging options in this area. The rock is generally low-angled and featured with bulges and smooth, sandy slabs comprising the main challenges of the moderate climbs found here (most climbs check in at 5.4 to 5.10). The routes range from 50 to 500+ feet in length on varying quality rock and are almost entirely bolt protected. Twelve draws, a handful of slings, two ropes and a little discretion on what and what not to pull on is all you will need for a day at the Arch.
Drive north out of the town of Rifle on CO Hwy 13 for 7 miles. Just past mile marker 7 there is a pull off on the right with a gated, BLM trail that leads to the Arch. Follow this obvious trail for about 25 minute of mostly easy walking until you get to a set of log benches by the trail. You will be close to the arch and walls at this point. Bush whack left off of the trail at the benches heading towards the varnished walls. An intermittent trail leads along the base of these walls, passing the climbs as you go.
Weather station 8.0 miles from here
7 Total Climbing Routes
['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',3],['2 Stars',4],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]
Classic Climbing Routes in Rifle Arch
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Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Rifle Arch:
Featured Route For Rifle Arch
Fuzzy Babies 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c Colorado
: ... : Pothole Rock
The hardest moves are at the bottom. This route is very typical of other routes around the arch. The sandstone has sharp, ridge features and flakes that tend to pull off if you don't handle them gently. After the first few bolts, the route eases up and it is an easy cruise to the bolts at the top. There are two bolts without chains. There is potential for more pitches if one was so inclined to add more bolts. We named this route in dedication to our dogs, the Fuzzy Babies....[more] Browse More Classics in Colorado
The Playground (Rifle Arch can be seen on the Righ...
By BJ Sbarra
From: Carbondale, CO
Jul 9, 2007
The BLM has found an eagle's nest near the Arch and ask that climbers do not climb on or in the immediate vicinity of the arch itself. All of the currently established routes have been deemed ok to climb on, as most sit out of view of the nest.
By George Bracksieck
Oct 20, 2013
Yesterday we climbed a few routes at the Mitten Slab. Going left from the benches, we encountered bushwhacking, fallen logs, and a lot of up and down, before reaching the first three (now five) bolted routes. When we hiked back to the car, we followed a mellow, occasionally rocky trail, which intersects the Arch trail well below (south of) the benches. When going up the Arch trail, look for a flat pile of cobbles to the right of a 6" x 3' juniper log lying across the entrance to the climbers' trail. These markers could easily disappear.