Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park: Complete Guide - The Unending Journey (2022)

Though not as massive as the Grand Canyon, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park still makes your jaw drop. The sheer drop down. Colorful designs on the canyon walls. The canyon itself may not be the biggest, but the overall effect never fails to wow at every turn.

Of all of Colorado’s national parks, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is probably the least known. On the positive, that means visitors can enjoy a quiet visit without battling crowds. But on the negative side, it means so many people are missing out on this unbelievable scenery.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

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The Black Canyon of the Gunnison

The story of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison begins roughly two million years ago when the Gunnison River began its sculpting of the rock. Over time, the river slowly eroded away the rock and sediment until we have the amazing canyon that we see today.

Sadly, with the numerous dams upstream, the river is no longer a master carver. The dams prevent sediment to travel down the river which is needed for erosion.

No other canyon in the U.S. has the combination of depth, narrowness, and sheerness of the Black Canyon.

  • 2,250 feet deep at Painted Wall
  • 40 feet wide at the Narrows
  • 1,100 feet across at the Chasm

And though you can’t tell from looking at it from high above, the river falls at an average of 95 feet per mile. This makes it easier for the river to erode and shape the canyon.

The area became a U.S. national park in 1999. It’s located roughly 250 miles southwest from Denver, CO and takes about 4 – 5 hours to get there.

Planning Your Visit to Black Canyon of the Gunnison

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Standing at Pulpit Rock

There’s lot of activities you can do in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park including hiking, rock climbing, and fishing. But even if you are going to just stop at the many viewpoints, you still need to plan accordingly.

While at the Black Canyon, you will be at an elevation between 7,500 and 8,500 feet (2286/2590m). If you have never been at this altitude, make sure you take it easy to see how your body handles the height.

To help with the elevation, make sure that you have plenty of drinking water with you. Though there are water refill stations within the park, the water is brought in and should be used only for emergencies. And, there is hardly any shade. So, sun protection is mandatory.

And it’s possible to visit both the South and North Rims in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Each offer different experiences to the visitor, though the South Rim is the more popular side.

If you are planning of visiting both rims on your visit, note that it takes about 2 hours to drive from the south entrance to the north entrance. As there is no way across the canyon, you have to drive around it.

Safety at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

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Looking down to the Gunnison River from the North Rim

The Black Canyon of the Gunnison features some steep drop-offs. Though a majority of overlooks feature railing, some don’t. So, it is up to each guest to take care. In some places, the brave can walk right up to the very edge of the rim. But please don’t.

The canyon is millions of years old. So, you never know when a sturdy looking rock may decide to give way. In many places, it would be a straight 2,000-foot drop to the canyon floor.

And from above, please be respectful to the hikers who decide to hike the canyon floor. And that means not throwing any rocks into the canyon. Objects can reach speeds of 120 MPH seriously injuring or killing anything it hits upon landing.

South Rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison

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Black Canyon Views

A quick drive from Montrose, CO, the South Rim is the more accessible rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Driving through the surrounding farms, you think that there’s no possible way that an expansive canyon is lurking.

It’s an easy drive on Route 347 to the entrance of the South Rim of the Black Canyon. And the road is paved all the way to road’s end. It’s a narrow two-way road that snakes its way along the rim of the canyon.

There is no passing in the park and no places to pull over. And, the only parking is at the designated overlooks.

Facilities Along the South Rim

The South Rim has the only visitor center in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Here you can read about the nature of the canyon, buy souvenirs, and talk with rangers. There’s also a water refill station right outside.

The south rim also has a large campground with 88 sites near the entrance station. Sites are a mix of reservations and first-come first-serve and is open year-round.

Toilets are available throughout the South Rim drive. Each toilet has hand sanitizer available. You can find vault toilets at the following stops: Tomichi Point, Visitor Center, Pulpit Rock, Sunset View, and High Point.

And, you can even enjoy a picnic along the rim of the Black Canyon. Picnic tables are located at Pulpit Rock, Sunset View, and High Point.

There are no fuel services nor food services within the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. When visiting the south rim, you can find ample options for both at nearby Montrose, CO (15 miles away).

Black Canyon South Rim Overlooks

There are 12 scenic overlooks along the south rim in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Each offers a different perspective along the canyon. It’s not a see one and done.

If you are wanting to do all the overlooks, plan on taking 2-3 hours. If you are going to be doing one or two of the trails, plan on at least five hours in the national park.

Tomichi Point

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Tomichi Point Views

(Video) Things to Do at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park (Where to Stay + What to Expect)

The first overlook is Tomichi Point. And what an introduction to the Black Canyon! If this vantage doesn’t make you excited to see more, you may want to check that you still have a pulse.

There’s a small viewing platform. But, for better views, walk over to the toilets. There you will see a trail that says Campgrounds and Visitor Center. Heading down the steps, if you go right, you end up below the viewing platform for an amazing view (bench included).

Going left on the trail to the visitor center, there’s another fork in the trail. Going right takes you to a different perspective on this section of the canyon. Taking the left trail, you will be on the Rim Rock Trail.

This 2-mile round trip trail follows the rim from the Visitor Center past Tomichi Point to the campgrounds. It’s a mostly level trail that is easy to do.

Gunnison Point

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Looking down at Gunnison Point

Access to Gunnison Point is behind the Visitor Center. A small series of steps leads down to an overlook. This is your first real glimpse into the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.

If you don’t suffer from vertigo, you can peer straight down to the river. The roar of the river fills the air. And the patterns of the rock start to take on shapes.

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Gunnison Point View

Don’t forget to visit the other viewing platform with an epic view of the canyon and the river. When coming from the first overlook, don’t turn back to the visitor center. Instead, keep walking straight and you’ll come upon it.

From Gunnison Point, you can also access the Oak Flat Trail. This 2-mile loop trail is difficult as it drops 400 feet along the way for views of the canyon.

Pulpit Rock

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Pulpit Rock Views

Standing on a protruding rock, the Pulpit Rock overlook in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park has an incredible view of the Gunnison River. Though the canyon may not be at its steepest here, it is at its most picturesque.

It’s a very short walk to Pulpit Rock with a few steps along the way.

Cross Fissures

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Cross Fissures View Point

It’s 357 yards to the Cross Fissures overlook. It’s a mostly level trail as you head to your first real glimpse into the heart of the Black Canyon.

The countless shapes formed by the eroding rock as well as patterns in the rock really take root here. And, you’ll notice that the canyon walls are getting higher.

Rock Point

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Heading to Rock Point

Rock Point Overlook is a fun stop. It’s 294 yards to the overlook and the walk there is a little different. First, you are on a path surrounded by shrubs. But then you walk a narrow path along a massive boulder as you come on top of a rocky outcrop.

At the far end is a viewing platform. There’s also room to sit and admire the view along a flat rock surface to the side of the platform.

Devils Lookout

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Devil’s Lookout

Besides High Point, Devils Lookout has the longest walk to viewpoint at 607 yards. As it’s very close to Rock Point, you don’t get much of a different look at the canyon.

If you are on a tight schedule, this is the one lookout I’d say to skip.

Chasm View

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The Chasm View from South Rim

At the Chasm View lookout, the widest part of the canyon is in front of you. And it’s stunning. You can even see a glimpse of the Painted Wall. As you look out, you can see the canyon stretch into the distance.

It’s a short walk to the overlook involving a few steps. There is an accessible ramp as well.

Painted Wall

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Painted Wall

(Video) Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Probably the most famous feature in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is Painted Wall. Its patterns look like veins running through the rock. It’s breathtaking.

These veins were created billions of years ago from molten rock being squeezed into fractures and joints in the existing rock and then cooled. The affect is a 3D artwork done by Mother Nature.

And, standing at 2,300 feet, Painted Wall is also the highest cliff in Colorado. You can stand almost two Empire State Buildings on top of each other to match the height!

It’s a short walk to the viewing platform from the park road.

Cedar Point

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Cedar Point Views

One of the most amazing views in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is found at Cedar Point. Not only do you get the Painted Wall, but you have the perfect view of the Gunnison River as it continues its journey westwards.

It’s your first view of the last portion of the canyon and it is stunning. The long line of the river framed by the Painted Wall. Seriously, you can’t miss it.

It’s 303 yards to two lookout platforms.

Dragon Point

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Dragon Point View

There’s not much of a difference in the view at Dragon Point from Cedar Point. The path to the lookout is extremely wide and offers a more dead on angle to the flowing river.

If Cedar Point is crowded, consider stopping at Dragon Point instead. And if you are short on time, this is another overlook you can skip without feeling guilty.

Sunset View

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Sunset View Overlook

An accessible viewing platform gives you an astounding vantage of the Gunnison River as it makes it way towards the end of the canyon. Standing at Sunset View, the size of the Black Canyon really hits you.

High Point

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Warner Point Viewpoint

The highest point on the south rim of the Black Canyon is High Point at an elevation of 8,289 feet. It’s also road’s end. From the parking lot, you aren’t going to see much. To get to the view, you need to hike the Warner Point Nature Trail.

This is the furthest walk to a viewpoint on the south rim. It’s 1.4 miles round-trip. Though it is a nature trail, it’s not an easy walk. The trail modulates up and down until the end. But along the way, you have great views of the distant mountain ranges and the surrounding farmlands.

At the end is Warner Point is a view straight down the lower canyon at the Painted Wall. As you sit on the rocks enjoying the view, watch for swallows that woosh in the air around you.

North Rim of Black Canyon of the Gunnison

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North Rim gravel park road

There’s a stark contrast between the south and north rims of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison Park. The north rim is more rugged, more untamed, more natural in feel than the south rim.

Maybe because it’s not as convenient to get to. Or, maybe it’s because the north rim road is gravel (suitable for all vehicles). Even the road to the entrance is partly gravel (from Route 92, it’s 12 miles to the park and the last 6 miles are gravel).

But the views are completely different. Not to mention, the best viewpoint and hiking trail (in my humble opinion) in the entire national park are found on the north rim. If you have the time, you must visit!

If you only do the overlooks on the North Rim Road, plan on spending 1 – 2 hours. And, if you plan on doing some hiking, plan on at least 5 hours.

Facilities are limited on the north rim. There is a ranger station (occasionally staffed) where you pay your entry fee and one small campground. And, there are three toilet facilities available: at the campground, next to the ranger station, and at the end of the park road.

Chasm View Nature Trail

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View from Chasm Nature Trail

The absolute best vantage point in all of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is found along the Chasm View Nature Trail. Trust me when I say the 2-hour drive to get there is completely worth it!

The Chasm View Nature Trail is an easy 0.3-mile loop trail. But, the glory of this trail comes at the far end when you are overlooking the Chasm. And boy is that view much different (and far superior) from the Chasm View on the south rim.

(Video) BLACK CANYON OF THE GUNNISON NATIONAL PARK | Moody & Gorgeous South Rim | Deepest Canyon in Colorado

After spending an entire day marveling at the Black Canyon, coming upon this view, my jaw dropped all the way to canyon floor! The mammoth canyon reveals itself. The massive gulf in front of you. And, the river far, far below and the Painted Wall in all its glory is all right there. It takes time to fathom it all.

Once you can finally tear yourself away from the view point, the nature trail continues for a bit along the rim giving you numerous opportunities to marvel at the canyon.

To get to the Chasm View Nature Trail, head towards the campgrounds on the north rim past the ranger station. You can either drive the full campground loop and park right outside the nature trail. Or, you can park in the one-way loop before entering the campgrounds. It’s less than a 3-minute walk down the exit road to the trail head.

The Narrows

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The Narrows View

The first stop on the North Rim Park Road is the Narrows. This overlook gives you a great view of where the Gunnison River is at its narrowest. And, it also gives you a great opportunity to look straight down!

It’s a short trail to the lookout.

Balanced Rock

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Balanced Rock Views

With the viewing platform right next to parking, it’s easy to take in Balanced Rock. And it is a very large rock. Though the views are not the greatest at this stop, it is a quick and easy stop.

Big Island

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Big Island View

Another quick and easy vantage point is Big Island. As you move down the canyon, you can see how the canyon walls begin to change and take different shapes. And, you appreciate more all the free standing rocks that seem only one winter away from crumbling.

Island Peaks

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Second view at Island Peaks

There’s a proper viewing platform at Island Peaks. Again, views down the canyon greet on your side while the entrance to the Narrows blocks your view on the other side.

After the viewing platform, don’t go right back to your vehicle. Instead, follow the small loop trail. Though there isn’t a proper platform, the view is extraordinary!

Kneeling Camel

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Kneeling Camel Overlook

There’s no mistaking the rock formation in front of you. It looks just like a kneeling camel. But this overlook is more than just one rock shape. It’s a wonderful view towards the upper canyon.

And the overlook is just off parking, so its very easy to get to.

Hiking Trails on the North Rim of Black Canyon

The north rim features the two longest day hikes in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. And that’s Exclamation Point/Green Mountain Trail and Deadhorse Trail. If you love to hike, you can’t leave without doing at least one of these.

Exclamation Point Trail

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Early morning light at Exclamation Point

Another jaw-dropping vantage point is found at Exclamation Point which can only be reached by hiking. Here, you look straight down the canyon. And I mean straight down.

I’m not sure which but this viewpoint either got its name from the straight view with you being the exclamation point or from the WOW!!!!! that escapes your lips upon first view.

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Hiking out to Exclamation Point

It’s an easy 3-mile round trip trek that begins to the side of the ranger station. There are very few changes in elevation along the way. But the trail is very narrow for most of the way.

And as phenomenal as Exclamation Point is, there is no railing there. So be careful as you take in the view along the rocks.

Green Mountain Trail

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View of the canyon from trail to Green Mtn

(Video) Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park- Hikes, Drives and Roaring Rivers

If you have the energy, you can continue on the same trail past Exclamation Point up to Green Mountain. Heading up, the trail climbs the entire way to the top gaining 840 feet, reaching an elevation of 8,563 feet.

The trail passes through the forest on the hillside providing shade on sunny days. As you progress, the trail remains narrow. The closer to the top you get, the steeper the switchbacks become.

When you emerge above the tree line, you have a breathtaking view of the Black Canyon in its entirety. It’s for this view that you hike up Green Mountain.

Unfortunately, the view is not so great once you reach the top. There is a small loop to follow, but there isn’t much of a view of anything. The best view is right as you reach the loop behind you. Though, you may have Monarch butterflies flit around you at the top.

The entire hike is 7-miles round trip. Though the climb isn’t steep, going up at that elevation makes it more challenging. So, make sure you have plenty of water and food with you.

Deadhorse Trail

Unfortunately, I did not have time to tackle this 5-mile (round trip) trail. Access is just past the Kneeling Camel View (need to park there). This moderate trail gives you views of Deadhorse Gulch and the East Portal.

Hiking into the Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Yes, you can hike down into the Black Canyon!

It’s not easy nor are there aren’t any established trails down. So, if you want to hike, you need to be prepared. Before setting off, make sure that you speak to a park ranger about possible routes and what you may encounter (including poison ivy which is rampant on the canyon floor, black bears, deer and porcupines).

And, you need a wilderness permit, which is free, and can be obtained at the visitor center or ranger stations.

Driving into the Black Canyon of the Gunnison

If hiking straight down into the canyon isn’t your cup of tea, don’t worry. You can always drive down into it!

To get to the floor of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, you just follow the East Portal Road which begins just past the entrance station.

Caution – the road is extremely steep in places (16% grade) with hairpin turns so caution should be taken. Also, vehicles longer than 22 feet are prohibited from accessing the road. And, the road is closed in winter.

Fishing in Gunnison River

If you love to fish, you can do so in the Gunnison River. Near the end of the East Portal Road, there is a primitive trail that take you to the river where one can fish. If you do want to fish, make sure that you have a valid Colorado license.

Pets at the Black Canyon

Yes, pets are allowed within the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. But there are conditions.

Pets must be leashed at all times. And, they not allowed on the longer hiking trails, in the canyon, or in the Wilderness. But they can be taken to the overlooks as well as the shorter Chasm View Nature Trail and Rim Rock Trail.

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Welcome to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Entry to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

The entry fee into the Black Canyon is $25 per vehicle, which is valid for seven consecutive days. You can purchase your entry pass at the entrance station or in advance online.

If you are planning to visit the other Colorado national parks like Great Sand Dunes National Park only 4 hours away (or any of the U.S. national parks and monuments) within a year, consider getting the America the Beautiful pass. This gives you free entry to all parks and sites managed by the National Park Service. And, it’s a great money saver!

You can purchase online or at any park entrance station.

Lodging Near Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

If you are planning a road trip of Colorado’s national parks or looking for a place near the Black Canyon to spend the night if you are doing both rims, there are several options.

The closest are the three campgrounds within the national park itself. Two are located in the south rim portion and the other on the north rim.

For the south rim, the closet lodging can be found at Montrose, CO (hotels and Airbnbs) just 15 miles away. If you are breaking up your visit to both rims into two days, besides Montrose, there are lodging options at Delta and Hotchkiss, CO, which is closer to the north rim entrance. Further away is the town of Gunnison, 64 miles to the east.

Weather at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison

The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park experiences all four seasons in a year. June through August are the hottest months with temperatures between 80 – 106°F. Occasional thunder storms are possible.

The best time to visit is in the shoulder months of April/May and September/October when the crowds will be less and the temperatures very comfortable.

In winter, the national park does receive snow but not in large amounts. Temperatures range from 25 – 45°F.

What to Bring with You

For a day trip to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, make sure you have with you:

Sun Protection – Sun screen is best as it can be very windy along the rim of the Black Canyon. And it’s doubtful that you will want to leave your hat at the bottom of the canyon.

Layers – At a higher elevation, the temperature is going to be cooler than the surrounding area. Also, it’s very windy and the weather can change suddenly. So, bring warm layers with you just in case.

Refreshments – Make sure you have plenty of water with you even if you are not hiking. And bring snacks or a lunch to enjoy during the day.

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FAQs

How long should you spend at Black Canyon of the Gunnison? ›

Allow 2-3 hours for a leisurely tour. Information is available at the North Rim Ranger Station, open intermittently in summer. The North Rim Road is closed in winter.

Is Black Canyon of the Gunnison worth it? ›

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is one of Colorado's hidden gems. It gets overlooked because Colorado has so much to offer, but Black Canyon is well worth the visit!

What is the best way to view the Black Canyon of the Gunnison? ›

For the ultimate adventure in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, hike below the rim to the Gunnison River. On the South Rim, four trails lead from the rim to the Gunnison River. A Wilderness Use Permit is required for each of these hikes (you need to pick up your permit the day before your hike).

Is North Rim or South Rim better Black Canyon of the Gunnison? ›

The South Rim has more services, facilities and overlooks, and provides better views of the Painted Wall. The North Rim is accessed via a gravel road, has no visitor center, but does provide better views into the narrowest part of the canyon.

How much does it cost to get into the Black Canyon? ›

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park normally charges $20 per vehicle, $15 per motorcycle and $10 per pedestrian or bicycle. Entrance fees are good for seven days. The entrance fee waiver for the fee-free days does not cover user fees for camping.

Which rim is better in Black Canyon? ›

If you only have one day to visit Black Canyon, the south rim will give you a greater variety of viewpoints and short hikes. The north rim is the best if you want a more isolated experience. East Portal Road can be accessed from the South Rim and takes you to the base of the canyon. The road is steep and windy.

Can you drive to the bottom of the Black Canyon? ›

The East Portal Road travels five steep miles to the bottom of the canyon. You'll find a small campground, picnic area, and primitive trail when you reach the end of the road.

What is the best hike in Black Canyon of the Gunnison? ›

According to users from AllTrails.com, the best place to hike in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is Warner Point Nature Trail, which has a 4.5 star rating from 1,093 reviews.

What town is closest to Black Canyon of the Gunnison? ›

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is divided into two areas: the more popular South Rim and the less developed North Rim. The two areas are a two hour drive apart. The closest town to the South Rim is Montrose, Colo.

Is the North Rim of Black Canyon worth it? ›

Because there is no bridge over the canyon, accessing the North Rim requires a bit of a drive. You'll need to allow two to three hours' drive time from one rim to the other—but it's entirely worth it. Not only are there far fewer people, but the views from the North Rim are also more dramatic, if that's even possible.

Do you need a permit to hike Black Canyon of the Gunnison? ›

Permits are required for all inner canyon wilderness use - both day and overnight trips. Permits are available at the South Rim Visitor Center and North Rim Ranger Station.

Is the drive to Black Canyon of the Gunnison scary? ›

Some of the deepest areas of this canyon get little more than 30 minutes of sunlight per day, yet visitors can discover an incredible feat of science and nature by exploring this canyon from top to bottom. Once you shake off the shadowy jitters, you'll find it's not scary at all.

Are there bears in Black Canyon of the Gunnison? ›

It is unlikely that you will see a black bear and even less likely a mountain lion.

Which is deeper Black Canyon or Grand Canyon? ›

Depth (feet) of the Black Canyon at Warner Point. That's impressive, but not by comparison to the true monsters. Hells Canyon, the deepest canyon in North America, is 7,913 feet deep at Hedevil Point (on the Idaho side). The Grand Canyon averages about 5,000 feet deep.

Is Black Canyon of the Gunnison crowded? ›

The 9 Best Black Canyon of the Gunnison Hiking Trails for Avoiding People. In the ranking of America's most popular national parks, Colorado's Black Canyon of the Gunnison falls toward the bottom. In 2021 it ranked 48th of 63 parks with 308,910 total visitors.

Can you swim in Black Canyon? ›

Other things to do near Black Canyon of the Gunnison

There's a large lake where you can boat, swim or just dip your feet in. It does require a $9.00 day pass per vehicle to enter.

How deep is the water at the Black Canyon? ›

This tour can include the optional deep water solo climb against a cliff that overhangs above a large 80-foot deep pool of water.

What is the closest city to Black Canyon? ›

Towns & Cities Near Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
  • Montrose, CO. 19.9 mi / 36 mins.
  • Delta, CO. 41.1 mi / 58 mins.
  • Ouray, CO. 55.2 mi / 1 hour 17 mins.
  • Gunnison, CO. 68.8 mi / 1 hour 30 mins.
  • Crawford, CO. 69.9 mi / 1 hour 33 mins.
  • Telluride, CO. 84.5 mi / 1 hour 55 mins.
  • Mt Crested Butte, CO. 99.9 mi / 2 hours 11 mins.

Can you swim in Black Canyon of the Gunnison? ›

Other things to do near Black Canyon of the Gunnison

There's a large lake where you can boat, swim or just dip your feet in. It does require a $9.00 day pass per vehicle to enter.

How long does it take to hike from the rim to the bottom of the Grand Canyon? ›

in general, a trip to the river from the South Rim will take about 5 hours down, and about 15 hours back up. However, a descent from the North Rim will take close closer to 8 hours to the river, and may take 20+ hours back to the rim depending on fitness.

Why is the Black Canyon so steep? ›

The power of fast falling enables the river to erode tough rock. The river drops an average of 96 feet per mile in the national park. It drops 480 feet in one two-mile stretch. Fast, debris-laden water carving hard rock made the canyon walls so steep.

Why do they call it Black Canyon? ›

The Black Canyon derives its name from its black-stained, lichen-covered walls, which accentuate the gloom of the chasm. Roads on the North and South rims, with overlooks and foot trails, reach about 8,000 feet (2,400 metres) above sea level.

Can you hike Sierra Negra without a guide? ›

This hike is only accessible with a guide. The Sierra Negra Volcano has the second largest crater in the world, with a six mile diameter.

Is Black Elk peak a difficult hike? ›

This is an easy hike that gets moderate in parts, but there are plenty of nice spots to stop for a drink of water and a picture. (Make sure you bring your own hydration, as there's no water available on the trails.) But one of the best parts of Black Elk Peak is the number of options you can take to get to the top.

How long does it take to climb the Devil's Bit? ›

A satisfying hill walk on Devil's Bit Mountain, this pleasant loop takes 90 minutes to complete. The terrain is a mix of sandy laneways, forestry tracks, green roads and hillside paths.

What is the Black Canyon famous for? ›

Fishing enthusiasts should add the Black Canyon to the list of great fishing in the Gunnison Valley. With gold medal waters stretching for 12 miles within the park, this is one of the best stretches of trout fishing in the state of Colorado.

Can you use national park pass at Black Canyon of the Gunnison? ›

The passes are valid only for entrance fees at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. If you plan to visit the North Rim of the Black Canyon, we strongly advise purchase of the digital pass as there are limited pay options at the North Rim.

How far from Denver is Gunnison National Park? ›

The distance between Denver and Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is 168 miles. The road distance is 267.5 miles.

How long to drive to North Rim of Black Canyon of the Gunnison? ›

How to Get to the North Rim of Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Even though the canyon is only 1,100 feet in the narrowest section, it takes about two hours to drive from the South Rim to the North Rim.

Which is more scenic North Rim or South Rim Grand Canyon? ›

The South Rim is at a lower elevation which allows you to get a better view of the walls of the opposite rim. The sheer magnitude of the Grand Canyon is much more visible from the South Rim. The South Rim is more “user friendly” with paved paths along the rim.

Why is the South Rim better than the West Rim? ›

There is a good reason people flock to the South Rim; it's actually part of Grand Canyon National Park; it's stunningly beautiful; it's more developed by way of visitors centers and services; there's more lodging nearby; you can hike, backpack and camp; it's easier to access and is more centrally located for Arizona ...

Do you need a reservation for Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park? ›

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park | Gunnison, Colorado. According to mycoloradoparks.com, visitors do not need reservations to visit Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park; however, reservations for the South Rim area are "strongly recommended." An annual pass to the park costs $55.

How long is the walk around the Black Lake? ›

It is the largest and the best known of 18 glacial lakes on the mountain. The lake is easily accessible, as it is within walking distance from the center of the town of Žabljak. A 3.5 km walking path circles around entire lake, and it is a popular destination for recreation and hiking.

Can you hike to the bottom of Black Canyon of the Gunnison? ›

Hiking To The Bottom Of Black Canyon Of The Gunnison: The Gunnison Route Hike- The Gunnison Route is a rim to rim trail in Black Canyon of The Gunnison National Park. You do need a permit to go on this hike to the bottom of The Black Canyon of The Gunnison.

Can you camp at the bottom of Black Canyon? ›

Black Canyon offers two campgrounds - one on each rim. There is also a campground at the bottom of the canyon called East Portal. Although accessed through the park, East Portal is within the boundary of Curecanti National Recreation Area.

What do you wear to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison? ›

The park is notorious for its poison ivy, which grows many feet high along the walls of the canyon. If you plan on descending into the canyon, you should wear pants and long sleeves to protect yourself.

How much is it to camp at Black Canyon of the Gunnison? ›

$12 per night. No reservations; first-come, first-served at all 21 sites. People love the hiking trails in the area as well as the abundant shade, which is not available at many of the other campsites near the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.

What time of day are black bear active? ›

Daily Activity Period: Most bears become active a half-hour before sunrise, take a nap or two during the day, and bed down for the night an hour or two after sunset. However, some bears are active at night to possibly avoid people or other bears. Preferred Foods: Nuts, acorns, fruit, insects, succulent greens.

Are there rattlesnakes in Black Canyon of the Gunnison? ›

There are four types of rattlesnakes in the Black Canyon area and all are to be considered dangerous.

What time of day are black bears most active in spring? ›

Bears are most active during early morning and late evening hours in spring and summer. Mating usually takes place in July. Both female and male bears may have more than one mate during the summer.

How long should I spend at Black Canyon of the Gunnison? ›

Allow 2-3 hours for a leisurely tour. Information is available at the North Rim Ranger Station, open intermittently in summer. The North Rim Road is closed in winter.

How many days do you need in Black Canyon of the Gunnison? ›

How Many Days Do You Need in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park? If you want to visit both the North and South Rims, you will need two days. On the quickest of visits, you can visit the South Rim in about 4 to 5 hours, simply by driving South Rim Road.

What is the deepest canyon in USA? ›

Hells Canyon, Idaho and Oregon

This is the deepest canyon in North America, the canyon is 8,043 feet (2,452 meters) deep.

Is Gunnison the coldest place in Colorado? ›

Gunnison is located at the bottom of a valley. Due to its location in the Rocky Mountains, cold air in all the valleys settles into Gunnison at night, making it one of the coldest places in winter in the United States, especially when snowpack is present.

Is Gunnison Colorado worth visiting? ›

Dramatic cliffs, deep canyons, and the roaring rapids of the Gunnison River make for one of the most spectacular scenes in all of Colorado. While the most popular time to visit this national park is in the summer, there are plenty of reasons to visit during the winter.

How long is Black Magic canyon? ›

Try this 1.5-mile out-and-back trail near Shoshone, Idaho. Generally considered a moderately challenging route, it takes an average of 28 min to complete. This trail is great for hiking, and it's unlikely you'll encounter many other people while exploring.

Videos

1. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado, USA [Amazing Places 4K]
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2. Epic views at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park (28 of 419)
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3. Black Canyon Of The Gunnison and Ouray, CO (Ridgway CO Part 2)
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4. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park | Hike to the Bottom | Colorado
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5. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
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