Black Canyon of the Gunnison N.P. (8,500′)

The Black Canyon of the Gunnison park contains 12 miles (19 km) of the 48-mile (77 km) long Black Canyon of the Gunnison River. The national park contains the deepest and most dramatic section of the canyon. The canyon’s name comes from the long shadows, where portions of the gorge only receive 1/2 hr of sunlight a day.

The park has a north and south rim, with the south rim being the most popular. The South Rim Road runs along the edge of the the canyon, being a little over 8 miles long with 12 viewpoints. The viewpoints showcase some of the world’s oldest exposed rock, Precambrian or “basement” rock that is nearly 2 billion years old.

Intresting stats:
Painted Wall – 2,250′ – tallest cliff in Colorado
The Narrows – 40′ wide
Chasm View – narrowest point on the rim – 1,100′ wide
Warner Point – deepest point – 2,722′

Dogs are allowed in the park at all the overlooks. However, the canyon below the rim is designated a wilderness area, where dogs are not allowed. 

Elevation Map Pancake Rocks

Weather

GPX with Elevation

Video Tour

Trail Directions

There are two primary entrances to the park: the south rim entrance is located 15 miles (24 km) east of Montrose, while the north rim entrance is 11 miles (18 km) south of Crawford and is closed in the winter. The park contains 12 miles (19 km) of the 48-mile (77 km) long Black Canyon of the Gunnison River. The national park itself contains the deepest and most dramatic section of the canyon, but the canyon continues upstream into Curecanti National Recreation Area and downstream into Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area.

Trailhead Directions