Exclamation Point Hike

Difficulty
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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.
1-1.5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
4.7 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.
111 m
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Directions to Trailhead
Exclamation Point Hike

The Exclamation Point Trail is one of our favorite scenic hikes in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. This short but sweet trail culminates at one of the National Park’s most incredible lookouts over the Canyon-sign us up! Compared to the South Rim of the canyon, this hike along the North Rim is more rustic and often less trafficked, making it the perfect trail to meander and enjoy the grandeur of the steep-walled gorge.

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Route Description for Exclamation Point Hike

The Exclamation Point Trail delivers mesmerizing vistas of the magnificent canyon below. Located on the North Rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, this hike is more primitive and less frequented. The last several miles of the road to the trailhead are dirt; cars should be ok along the dirt road as long as weather conditions are adequate. Once you arrive at the ranger station and trailhead, the path is easily marked. This scenic trail will guide hikers through dense forests and exposed ridges. In the warmer months, the exposed sections of the trail get very hot, ensure to lather on the sunscreen before you embark on your adventure. Note that the Exclamation Point Hike follows along the canyon's edge, making it essential to stay on the trail at all times to avoid dangerous cliffs and terrain.

There is no denying that we love a good scenic hike. How can you compete with a trail that guides you through lush Colorado woodlands, along the ridge of a ravine and past numerous dumbfounding lookouts? This trail checks all the boxes: family-friendly, varying terrain, and scenic beyond belief. This is one of our favorite lookout trails in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, and we know it could be yours as well. On your next excursion through Colorado National Parks, add this adventure to your itinerary.

The Exclamation Point Trail takes off from the North Vista Trailhead in the Ranger Station Parking Lot. Head northwest on the trail as it guides you through an open field of Juniper and Sagebrush. Continue through the brush landscape until you reach tree coverage. As you hike this section of the path, you will be rewarded with several distant glimpses of the canyon, these alone are incredible vistas, but they do not compare to the lookout at the end.

Follow this trail through the Black Canyon of the Gunnison Wilderness as you admire the distant views of the stone walls. You will eventually find yourself at the first viewpoint. This lookout sits on the edge of the Canyon and delivers stunning views of the steep-walled gorge below. Bask in the scenery before continuing this adventure. This next segment of the trail will guide you back through tree coverage as you gradually climb. Head southwest along the trail until you reach a junction. At the intersection, veer left and head south. The junction is well marked, so you shouldn’t have any difficulty navigating it.

As you head south along the ridge, the trail opens up and the views are incredible. You will meet a little roundabout down to the lookout point, you can go either way, but we suggest going counterclockwise. The loop will give you a tour of the expansive steep-walled scenery. Enjoy the impressive views of the gorge and the Gunnison River below. The vistas from the lookout are unworldly, revel in the breathtaking scenery before beginning your return.

Finish the lookout loop and it will lead you back to the North Vista Trail. Simply retrace your steps along the Canyons edge and through the forests back to the parking lot.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I bring my dog on the Exclamation Point Trail?

No, unfortunately the Exclamation Point Trail does not permit dogs.

Is there a fee to hike the Exclamation Point Trail?

Yes, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park charges a fee to enter. Fees vary and are charged per vehicle.

Insider Hints for Exclamation Point Hike

  • The North Rim Campground, which is just south of the trailhead, has amazing campsites overlooking the Black Canyon of the Gunnison! Wake up and drink your morning coffee on the North Rim of the Canyon, overlooking the steep gorge, how could it get any better? These highly desirable sites are first come first serve, so you better arrive early to reserve your site.
  • If you still have some gas left in the tank after exploring the Exclamation Point lookout, consider hiking to Green Mountain. The summit to Green Mountain follows west along the North Vista Trail. The adventure to the summit will add on a few miles and steeper elevation gain to the summit, so make sure you are prepared.

Getting to the Exclamation Point Hike Trailhead

The Exclamation Point Trail begins at the North Vista Trailhead. Find the trailhead in the Ranger Station Parking Lot off of Black Canyon Road.

Route Information

  • Backcountry Campground

    North Rim Campground

  • When to do

    May-October

  • Pets allowed

    No

  • Family friendly

    Yes

  • Route Signage

    Good

  • Crowd Levels

    Moderate

  • Route Type

    Out and back

Exclamation Point Hike Elevation Graph

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