Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park (BCGNP)
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park (BCGNP)

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Region in Colorado, United States
Colorado Map

As far as national parks go, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park (BCGNP) is severely underrated in our opinion. Covering over 47 square miles, the national park surrounds the geological wonder that is Colorado's deepest canyon. The vertiginous Black Canyon carves 14.0mi through Colorado's rocky landscape. Though not the longest, or the deepest canyon in the United States, none other than the Black Canyon are as dramatic. Millions of years ago, the Gunnison began its work carving through the Precambrian rock and sliced a tapered gorge into Western Colorado's terrain. Thus, the name is Black Canyon because the narrowness and steepness make it nearly impossible for sunlight to penetrate its walls, making them appear black.

The grandeur of the Black Canyon is indisputable. Over 15 scenic overlook trails dot the South and North rims of the canyon. Walk these short trails to a cliff's edge viewing arena overlooking the vertigo-inducing steep-walled gorge. Though there are an abundance of epic trails to lookout points, only a handful of technical hiking paths are available. If you are adventurous, hike down into the inner canyon to the Gunnison River. As a designated wilderness area, there are no maintained trails down the cliff's edge, but there are primitive routes that only those who crave a challenge should venture.

Offering more than just hiking excursions, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison is an adventurer's oasis. The craggy cliffside is the perfect terrain for rock climbers and mountaineers. Scramble up the inner canyon’s walls and enjoy vistas of the Black Canyon from a different perspective. If you are seeking a more leisurely activity, take a boat tour down the Gunnison River or fish along the river’s shoreline. The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park has plenty outdoor activities for everyone to enjoy.

Unfortunately, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is among one of the less-visited national parks in the state. Located six hours from the Denver International Airport and without many in-park accommodations, traffic is often limited to day-trippers and locals. This Park is a hidden treasure, and we think you should get out and experience it for yourself before word gets out. Located near the towns of Gunnison, Montrose, Crawford and Cimarron, a trip to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park should be added to everybody's adventure list.

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