The Black Canyon National Park is a steep and rugged canyon located below Blue Mesa Reservoir and the Curecanti National Recreation Area. The Gunnison River has carved through layers of precambian rock to create the narrow and stunning canyon.
The Black Canyon of the Gunnison offers a variety of activities that should be a part of your adventure travel planning. The Canyon can be experienced from the rim or from the canyon floor.
Both are spectacular but be advised that there is no easy way to reach the canyon floor and you should be in shape before attempting any of the difficult hikes. The ruggedness is the reason we love Black Canyon National Park.
Best Black Canyon Views
The canyon can be viewed from the North and the South Rims. Both Rims offer great views of the rugged canyon. On the South Rim the one mile Rim Rock Nature Trail offers great views on flat ground while the Chasm View Nature trail offers the a similar hike on the North Rim.
Best Canyon Hikes
At the South Rim you can drive down to the river therefore a hike is not necessary to reach the canyon bottom. From the North Rim the S.O.B Draw lives up to its name in a mere 1.75 miles.
Long Draw is a 1 mile hike to canyon bottom and is difficult as well. You should arrive in great shape before attempting these hikes. Also beware of poison ivy because it is abundant. For overnight trips apply for a permit at the Black Canyon National Park ranger station.
Best Black Canyon Campgrounds
Both the North and South Rims offer great Colorado Campgrounds. These are not Colorado RV Parks and only electrical hookups exist on Loop B of the South Rim. No reservations are necessary as they are all on a first come basis.
Black Canyon Kayaking
Kayaking through the canyon is the definition of extreme and should only be attempted by expert paddlers. The trip requires several portages and it has claimed several lives. At high water the portages do not exist and the trip should not be attempted.
The canyon offers advanced climbing opportunities for adventurous climbers. Routes are not well defined and the drops can exceed 1,700'. Be prepared for a true adventure rock climbing experience.
The canyon is home to elk, mule deer, peregrine falcons, black bear, bobcat, mountain lions, bighorn sheep, and a variety of other birds and land mammals. The spring, winter and fall provide the best opportunities to view wildlife but the higher traffic summer is also a good time.