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Celebrate Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park’s Anniversary

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

October 21st Marks the Anniversary for Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park!

Big enough to be overwhelming, still intimate enough to feel the pulse of time, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park exposes you to some of the steepest cliffs, oldest rock, and craggiest spires in North America. With two million years to work, the Gunnison River, along with the forces of weathering, has sculpted this vertical wilderness of rock, water, and sky.

Located in western Colorado and managed by the National Park Service, the park itself contains the deepest and most dramatic section of the canyon, but the canyon continues upstream into Curecanti National Recreation Area and downstream into Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area. The Gunnison River drops an average of 34 feet per mile through the entire canyon, making it the 5th steepest mountain descent in North America. By comparison, the Colorado River drops an average of 7.5 feet per mile through the Grand Canyon. The greatest descent of the Gunnison River occurs within the park at Chasm View dropping 240 feet per mile. The Black Canyon is so named because its steepness makes it difficult for sunlight to penetrate into its depths. As a result, the canyon is often shrouded in shadow, causing the rocky walls to appear black. At its narrowest point the canyon is only 40 ft wide at the river.


10 Things To Do at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Hiking Trails
Trails for all abilities are available on both South and North Rims. Routes to the river are extremely strenuous due to steep drop offs, loose rock, and prolific poison ivy.

Hiking the Inner Canyon
Extremely strenuous hikes to the bottom of the canyon in steep, unmaintained and unmarked gullies.

Scenic Drives
Gorgeous scenic routes are available along the rims and down to the river.

Fishing
The Gunnison River within Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is well known for outstanding trout fishing.

Kayaking
This stretch of the Gunnison River is only for the most experienced kayakers.

Rock Climbing
All the climbs in the Black are multi-pitch traditional routes and not for the faint of heart.

Wildlife Watching
Black Canyon provides a unique vertical environment for wildlife.

Horseback Riding
The Deadhorse Trail on the North Rim is the ONLY area open to horses or pack animals for day use/recreational riding in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

Explore the Night
Black Canyon offers night sky viewing opportunities throughout the year.


The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park Poster is an original work by Robert B. Decker and is also part of the Colorado Collection. The poster was created in the style of the Works Program Administration of the 1930s and 1940s, when the Federal Government started the Works Progress Administration (or the Works Program Administration), and commissioned hundreds of artists to create thousands of posters designs from which literally millions of prints were made. At that time, there were only 26 National Parks. And only 14 parks had posters created during the WPA. Black Canyon of the Gunnison was not yet a National Park!

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

See the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park poster here!

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