Located approximately 250 miles southwest of the Denver area is one of the countroes most beautiful and pristine National Parks. Black Canyon of the Gunnison showcases some of the most dramatic and awe inspiring scenery known to man. The Black Canyon of the Gunnison most incredible feature is the canyon that cuts through the National Park. Carved out over millions of years by the Colorado River, the canyon cuts the park into two several distinct areas.
The North Rim is located 11 miles south of Crawford and can be accessed by way of the Colorado Highway 92 and North Rim Road which is an unpaved road. Be careful when driving on the road but it is safe when traveled at a reasonable speed.
The South Rim is located 15 miles east of Montrose and is accessible by way of U.S. Highway 50 and Colorado Highway 347. To take in the full effect of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison it is a must to see the sights on both rims. The only issue involved with seeing both rims is there is no bridge that spans from the North Rim to the South Rim. It is a two to three hour drive to reach the opposite rim.
The Black Canyon of the Gunnison is located in a pristine area of Colorado and is home to many forms of wildlife. Watching and photographing wildlife is a popular pastime of visitors to the park. Hike quietly and wear clothing that blends in with the environment and animal observation will be an enjoyable experience.
Animals that can be seen while hiking include: golden-mantled ground squirrels, cottontail rabbits and chipmunks which are plentiful along the trails. Other larger animals such as: mule deer, elk and even black bears can be encountered also.
The weather during the summer months can range from 60 degrees to 100 degrees and during the winter months the weather can fall as low as 20 degrees with possible highs around 50 degrees. Always bring extra clothing just in case regardless of the time of year.
Hiking and wildlife observation are not the only activities for those who love the outdoors. Although hunting is forbidden in National Parks, fishing is one of the favorite spring and summer past times in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. When fishing, a license is required and the limit on brown trout is four per day and eight in possession. Black Canyon of the Gunnison is designated as Gold Medal Waters by Colorado Fish & Game. With 9,000 miles of Colorado trout streams, only 168 miles have been given the distinction as Gold Medal.
Other outdoor options in the park include mountain climbing and free hand rock climbing for the adventurous. Speaking of adventurous, there is kayaking and rafting available on the Colorado River. In the winter months the South Rim is a prime location for cross-country skiing.
For visitors looking for a less strenuous and relaxing visit to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, there are options also. Horseback riding is very popular and allows visitors to see the beauty of the back country in the park. Also there are many scenic drives through the park that can lead visitors to lookouts and special viewing areas throughout the park. Camping is also available with several campgrounds in the park.
Camping is available on both the South Rim and the North Rim but make sure to bring bear proof storage lockers and do not leave any food out that will attract the black bears. Black bears have been frequenting the campgrounds and although it may be fun to see the bears it can be dangerous.
Camping overnight is a $12 charge and vehicles cost $15 per vehicle. A pass can be obtained for an entire 12 month period for $30 a year. The price includes access in and out of the park for seven days.