Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Overview

Black Canyon of the Gunnison is a unique and spectacular landscape that was formed slowly by the action of water and rock abrading down through hard Proterozoic crystalline rock. No other canyon in North America combines the narrow opening, sheer walls, and startling depths offered by the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. With its natural landscape The canyon has been a mighty barrier to humans. Only its rims, never the gorge, show evidence of human occupation - not even by Ute Indians living in the area since written history began.

The park hosts a variety of ecosystems from pinyon pine, juniper and scrub oak forests at the rim, to the shady and vertical inner canyon walls, and down to the riparian community along the Gunnison River. With a plethora of recreational activities, including hiking and ranger guided programs, there are many ways to experience Black Canyon.

Map

Seasonality / Weather

South Rim: Open every day. The South Rim Road is open to vehicles from early April to mid-November. In winter, the South Rim Road is open to Gunnison Point. The remainder of the road is closed to vehicles, but open to cross country skiing and snowshoeing.

North Rim Road and ranger station are closed in winter. The road typically closes late November and re-opens mid-April.

Weather can vary greatly between the canyon rim and canyon floor. Summer daytime temperatures range between 60 to 100F (15 to 38C), nights 30 to 50F (-1 to 10C) Winter daytime temperatures range between 20 to 40F (-6 to 4C), nights -10 to 20F (-23 to -6C)

Precipitation is minimal, brief afternoon thunderstorms occur during the summer.

Directions

Driving: 

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is located approximately 250 miles southwest of Denver.

South Rim: 15 miles east of Montrose, via U.S. Highway 50 and CO Highway 347

North Rim: 11 miles south of Crawford, via CO Highway 92 and North Rim Road (unpaved)

There is no bridge between the north and south rims of the canyon. Allow two to three hours to drive from one side to the other.

Flying: 

Commercial airline service is available to Montrose, Gunnison and Grand Junction.

Public Transport: 

By bus: To Montrose or Grand Junction

By train: To Grand Junction

There is no public transportation within the park.