Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Quick Facts

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Colorado

(970) 641-2337

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Black Canyon of the Gunnison is a unique and spectacular landscape that was formed slowly by the action of water and rock abrading down through hard Proterozoic crystalline rock. No other canyon in North America combines the narrow opening, sheer walls, and startling depths offered by the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. With its natural landscape The canyon has been a mighty barrier to humans. Only its rims, never the gorge, show evidence of human occupation - not even by Ute Indians living in the area since written history began.

The park hosts a variety of ecosystems from pinyon pine, juniper and scrub oak forests at the rim, to the shady and vertical inner canyon walls, and down to the riparian community along the Gunnison River. With a plethora of recreational activities, including hiking and ranger guided programs, there are many ways to experience Black Canyon.

Map of Black Canyon

Latitude, Longitude: 38.554930, -107.686480

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Activities

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    There are many scenic roads in the park that provide visitors with amazing overlook views. The South Rim Road, The North Rim Road and the East Portal Road are favorites.

  • Camping

    Along with backcountry camping, campgrounds are located on the South an North Rim. The South Rim Campground is open year-round. Fees are require for the campgrounds and facilities are available.

  • Climbing

    Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is a destination that offers vast opportunities to advanced rock climbers.

  • Fishing

    The Gunnison River within Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is designated as Gold Medal Water & Wild Trout Water. Streams and rivers in Colorado are designated as Gold Medal Waters by the state wildlife commission because they provide outstanding angling opportunities for large trout. The Gold Medal Waters begin 200 yards downstream of Crystal Dam and continue to the North Fork of the Gunnison River.

    Special regulations are required to maintain gold medal quality experiences. Of the more than 9,000 miles of trout streams in Colorado, only 168 miles are designated as Gold Medal.

  • Hiking

    Here at the park visitors have many options for hiking. There are many difficult hikes including hiking in the Inner Canyon, where there are no marked trails, an there are easier, less strenuous hikes as well.

  • Historic Sites

    There are many fun an exciting Ranger-led programs at both visitor centers throughout the year.

  • Horseback Riding

    The Deadhorse Trail on the North Rim is the ONLY area open to horses or pack animals for day use, recreational riding in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. No permit is required. Horses must be trailered to the trailhead at Kneeling Camel Overlook. Trailers must be parked at this overlook as well.

  • Water Sports

    Popular water sports in the park include river rafting, kayaking, and fishing. Outfitters are available for tours and trips.

  • Winter Sports

    Black Canyon provide many excellent treks for snowshoeing as well as excellent trails for cross-country skiing. Winter backcountry camping is also popular.

Seasonality/Weather

South Rim: Open every day. The South Rim Road is open to vehicles from early April to mid-November. In winter, the South Rim Road is open to Gunnison Point. The remainder of the road is closed to vehicles, but open to cross country skiing and snowshoeing.

North Rim Road and ranger station are closed in winter. The road typically closes late November and re-opens mid-April.

Weather can vary greatly between the canyon rim and canyon floor. Summer daytime temperatures range between 60 to 100F (15 to 38C), nights 30 to 50F (-1 to 10C) Winter daytime temperatures range between 20 to 40F (-6 to 4C), nights -10 to 20F (-23 to -6C)

Precipitation is minimal, brief afternoon thunderstorms occur during the summer.

Directions

Driving

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is located approximately 250 miles southwest of Denver.

South Rim: 15 miles east of Montrose, via U.S. Highway 50 and CO Highway 347

North Rim: 11 miles south of Crawford, via CO Highway 92 and North Rim Road (unpaved)

There is no bridge between the north and south rims of the canyon. Allow two to three hours to drive from one side to the other.

Flying

Commercial airline service is available to Montrose, Gunnison and Grand Junction.

Public Transportation

By bus: To Montrose or Grand Junction

By train: To Grand Junction

There is no public transportation within the park.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(970) 641-2337

Links