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Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

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Overview

Carved out over the course of nearly two million years, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is a dramatic destination for rock and river exploration. With sheer granite cliffs, narrow side canyons, and the rushing Gunnison River below, visitors can tap into the vast depth of geological time through a variety of outdoor adventures. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is one of the most striking natural destinations in Colorado whether you visit from above on the canyon rim or dive below onto the shores of the river.

To learn more about Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, visit www.nps.gov.

Local Info

Visitor Centers:
Opening and closing dates and hours vary by season for the visitor centers. Check the park's website for current operating hours.

The South Rim Visitor Center is open year round, and closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and after 1 pm on December 24.
  • October 28 to April 15: 9 am to 4 pm
  • April 16 to May 25: 8 am to 5 pm
  • May 26 to September 4: 8 am to 6 pm
  • September 5 to September 30: 8 am to 5 pm

The North Rim Ranger Station is open periodically in the summer months. When closed, there is a self-pay station for the entrance fee and a self-registration board for wilderness permits.

Visiting Tips

The South Rim is open every day of the year. The South Rim Road is open to vehicles from early April to mid-November. During winter months, the South Rim Road is open to Gunnison Point. Past Gunnison Point, the road is closed to vehicles, but open to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

The North Rim Road and ranger station are closed in the winter. The road usually closes in the end of November and re-opens in the middle of April. The East Portal Road is closed in the winter. The road usually closes in the end of November and re-opens in the middle of April. Information on road closures and current conditions can be found at the park's website.

Fees & Passes:
To learn more about park fees, click here.

Camping & Lodging

There are two campgrounds in the park with over 100 total campsites with a number of amenities for RVs or tent camping. For more information on camping in the park, click here.

  • South Rim Campground: Open year round (Loop A only). Reservations can be made for Loops A and B.
  • North Rim Campground: Open April to mid-November. Available on a first come, first served basis.
  • East Portal Campground: Open mid-May to mid-September. Available on a first come, first served basis.

There is no additional lodging available within Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. There are a variety of lodging options in the nearby communities of Montrose and Gunnison.

Food & Drink

There are no food or dining options within Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. For a variety of dining options or grocery stores, visit the nearby town of Montrose, 14 miles south from the South Rim.

Outfitters, Tours, & Shuttles

The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park offers a variety of seasonal programs and nature walks. Unless otherwise noted, all ranger-led programs are free and open to the public. For upcoming events, check the calendar page here.

Other Activities

Those looking for other ways to explore Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park will not be disappointed by the variety that the park offers. Fishing, horseback riding, rafting, kayaking, and wildlife viewing are among the many activities that the park affords in the summer. In the winter, you can continue your exploration by snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or winter camping. Visit Black Canyon of the Gunnison's website for more information on the park's other activities. For those looking for other activities in the area, be sure to check out the great opportunities for rock climbing in the park and
mountain biking right up the road in Gunnison.

Maps & Guidebooks

To download a variety of free maps with information to help plan your visit, click here.

Gems in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park - 3

Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Add Your Gems

gem Favorite Painted Wall at Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP

Painted Wall Overlook

(16) Montrose, CO
gem Favorite Gunnison River flowing.

Warner Point

(7) Montrose, CO
gem Favorite U.S. Route 50 Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Pulpit Rock Overlook

(8) Montrose, CO

Recommended Routes in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park - 4

Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Add Your Recommended Routes

Favorite Black Canyon
Intermediate

North Vista Trail

6.7 mi 10.8 km 1,169' Up 356.18 m Up 1,169' Down 356.24 m Down

Olathe, CO
Favorite The view at the bottom of Long Draw looking east to Island Peaks.
Difficult

Long Draw (Gulch)

1.8 mi 2.9 km 1,422' Up 433.33 m Up 1,422' Down 433.34 m Down

Montrose, CO
Favorite Gunnison Point overlook. A short walk from the visitor center.
Intermediate

Rimrock to Uplands Loop

2.2 mi 3.5 km 404' Up 123.12 m Up 406' Down 123.82 m Down

Montrose, CO
Favorite Looking out at the Adobes and Elephant Skin Road. The trail drops steeply down to the right.
Intermediate/Difficult

Red Rock Canyon Route

6.5 mi 10.4 km 1,320' Up 402.37 m Up 1,319' Down 402.13 m Down

Montrose, CO

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park Hiking

  • 34 Miles 55 Kilometers of Trail
  • 4 Recommended Routes
  • 3 Gems Gems
  • 7 Easy Trails Easy Trails
  • 5 Intermediate Trails Intermediate Trails
  • 9 Difficult Trails Difficult Trails
Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Share what you know about this area!

Areas Within Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

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Trails in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park - 17

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0.8 mi 1.3 km #1Warner Point Nature Trail
Intermediate
Montrose, CO
Intermediate
Montrose, CO 16 
0.6 mi 1.0 km #2Gunnison Route
Very Difficult
Montrose, CO
Very Difficult
Montrose, CO 12 
0.9 mi 1.4 km #3Rim Rock Nature Trail
Easy/Intermediate
Montrose, CO
Easy/Intermediate
Montrose, CO
0.5 mi 0.8 km #4Chasm View Trail
Easy/Intermediate
Olathe, CO
Easy/Intermediate
Olathe, CO
0.6 mi 0.9 km #5Long Draw Route
Very Difficult
Montrose, CO
Very Difficult
Montrose, CO
1.6 mi 2.5 km #6Warner Route
Very Difficult
Montrose, CO
Very Difficult
Montrose, CO
0.8 mi 1.3 km #7S.O.B. Draw
Very Difficult
Olathe, CO
Very Difficult
Olathe, CO
0.3 mi 0.4 km #8Devils Lookout Trail
Intermediate
Montrose, CO
Intermediate
Montrose, CO
0.4 mi 0.7 km #9East Portal Trail
Easy/Intermediate
Montrose, CO
Easy/Intermediate
Montrose, CO
2.7 mi 4.3 km #10Deadhorse Trail
Intermediate
Montrose, CO
Intermediate
Montrose, CO

Photos of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park - 69

Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Add Your Photos

The sunset view into the Black Canyon of the Gunnison looks a bit too similar to the Mountains of Shadow in Mordor.
Jul 12, 2018 near Montrose, CO
One of the many views of the Black Canyon. This shot taken at Exclamation Point.
Aug 8, 2016 near Olathe, CO
The view at the bottom of Long Draw looking east to Island Peaks.
May 31, 2016 near Montrose, CO
Kmeg and Millie hanging out on the rim of the Black Canyon of Gunnison.
Apr 11, 2016 near Montrose, CO
Black Canyon of the Gunnison from the South Chasm Viewpoint.
Feb 18, 2016 near Montrose, CO
A wonderful contrast between the depths of the Black Canyon of the Gunnsion and the grasslands and blue skies above.
Jul 12, 2018 near Montrose, CO
About to drop into Long Draw.
May 31, 2016 near Montrose, CO
Painted Wall at Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP
Jan 28, 2016 near Montrose, CO