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17 votes

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

102 Elk Creek Rd, Montrose, Colorado 81401 USA

Closed Now
Opens Fri 8a
  • Independent
  • Credit Cards
  • Pet Friendly
  • Wheelchair
  • Public
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“South Rim Visitor Center”

Big enough to be overwhelming, still intimate enough to feel the pulse of time, Black Canyon of the Gunnison exposes you to some of the steepest cliffs, oldest rock, and craggiest spires in North America. With two million years to work, the Gunnison River, along with the forces of weathering, has sculpted this vertical wilderness of rock, water, and sky. It has trails for all abilities are available on both South and North Rims. 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. While the people of the Ute bands knew of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, it was an obscure geographic feature to explorers for hundreds of years. The Spanish were the first Europeans to canvas western Colorado with two expeditions, one led by Juan Rivera in 1765, and the other by Fathers Dominguez and Escalante in 1776. Both were looking for passage to the California coast, and both passed by the canyon.Fur trappers of the early 1800s undoubtedly knew of the canyon in their search for beaver pelts. They left no written record of the canyon, though, probably because they couldn't, in fact, read or write.By the middle of the century, exploration of the American west had captured the nation's attention. In turn expeditions came to the Black Canyon searching for railroad passageways, mineral wealth, or in a quest for water. Eventually explorers came to see the canyon, not for commercial wealth, but for the renewal and recreation that it offered. Today, you can walk in the footsteps of some of these hardy and inquisitive forebearers. The canyon still offers a rugged and demanding experience, even as it did more than a hundred of years ago.

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Reviewed by

  • 1 Review
  • 4 Helpful
May 28, 2014

An incredible place off the beaten path. Great spot if you are looking to rock climb or if you just want to camp and hike. Beautiful.

4 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Kurt Lundquist

  • Road Warrior
  • 20 Reviews
  • 17 Helpful
September 03, 2014

Awesome place. Deer in the campgrounds, views of the river below made me stay an extra night. Great hike down, lunch on a river rock and a tiring but really fun hike back up.
The 102 Elk Creek address is actually for the Elk Creek campground. Camp host directed me to Black Canyon which is 41 miles west to CO Highway 347.
Best place of the trip!

3 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 1 Review
  • 2 Helpful
April 18, 2014

What an awesome canyon, not to be missed!!

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 11 Reviews
  • 8 Helpful
February 03, 2015
Rated 4.0

Beautiful and some interestingly difficult terrain.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
November 10, 2018
Rated 5.0

For sure a hidden gem! I’m surprised this park isn’t very well known, it was one of my favorite places we stopped during our road trip! The canyon is beautiful and you can get fairly close to the edge because of the way they did the hiking trails. Would go back in a second to camp there if I lived a little closer.

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Reviewed by

  • 4 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
December 15, 2016

WOW!!!! Everyone should see this! The views are amazing! The canyon is stunning!

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Reviewed by
Nancy Sewell

  • 1,228 Reviews
  • 321 Helpful
August 23, 2016

Recently named an official International Dark Sky Park, Black Canyon of the Gunnison is surrounded by miles of vast open spaces. Far enough from cities but close enough for easy access, this park’s perfectly situated for some serious stargazing in Colorado.

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Reviewed by

  • 24 Reviews
  • 2 Helpful
June 21, 2016
Rated 5.0

Amazing, pictures cannot describe. Easy in and out if your time is limited as ours was; visit the gift shop and take a peek off the observation deck; wowza!

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Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

102 Elk Creek Rd
Montrose, Colorado
81401 USA


Closed Now
  • Sun - Sat: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm

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  • Parking
  • Pets Allowed
  • Restrooms
  • Wifi
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Credit Cards Accepted
  • Swimming Pool
  • Big Rigs
  • Dump Station
  • Laundry
  • Sewer Hookup
  • Showers
  • Outdoor Seating
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Campground, Parking, Dining

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