East Portal Trail

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Very Easy
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
0.5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
1.3 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
6 m
User Ratings
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Directions to Trailhead

Follow the East Portal Trail along the Gunnison Riverbanks. Surrounded by the flanking canyon cliffs, you won’t be able to help but wonder how this natural wonder came to be. Nestled among the strikingly tall gorge walls, you will be rewarded with an appreciation of how big they really are.

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Route Description for East Portal Trail

Hike the East Portal Trail along the Gunnison River in the valley of the Black Canyon. Many visitors only experience the Black Canyon from towering viewpoints, but it is much more rewarding to explore the inner canyon. Your jaw will drop as you walk through the river valley. Encompassed by gigantic granite cliffs and spires you will look like an ant from the viewpoints above. This trail follows along the riverbank, so there lacks a defined trail. Follow the path as best you can but you will eventually find yourself at the turnaround point. Make sure you wear sturdy shoes as the terrain is quite rocky.

Depart from the East Portal Campground and Parking Lot. Track north on the East Portal Trail as it guides you along the Gunnison River. Enjoy the views of the surrounding craggy cliffs and lush forests. Trek along the trial and keep an eye out for anglers, they often fish around this area. Soon, you will meet the turnaround point, take your time as you meander back along the trail.

Retrace your footing all the way back to the campground.

Getting to the East Portal Trail Trailhead

The East Portal Trail begins at the East Portal Campground in the Curecanti National Recreation Area.

Route Information

  • Backcountry Campground

    East Portal Campground

  • When to do

    June-October

  • Pets allowed

    No

  • Family friendly

    Yes

  • Route Signage

    Poor

  • Crowd Levels

    Moderate

  • Route Type

    Out and back

East Portal Trail Elevation Graph

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