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Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Photo © jengelman

Travel Guide North America USA Western United States Colorado Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

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Introduction

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is a United States National Park located in western Colorado and managed by the National Park Service. There are three entrances to the park. The south rim entrance is located 24 kilometres east of Montrose, while the north rim entrance is 18 kilometres south of Crawford and is closed in the winter. The park contains 19 kilometres of the 77-kilometre long canyon of the Gunnison River. The national 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 canyon's name owes itself to the fact that parts of the gorge only receive 33 minutes of sunlight a day, according to Images of America: The Black Canyon of the Gunnison. In the book, author Duane Vandenbusche states, "Several canyons of the American West are longer and some are deeper, but none combines the depth, sheerness, narrowness, darkness, and dread of the Black Canyon.

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Getting There and Around

The nearest cities with commercial airline service are Montrose and Gunnison. A third airport in Grand Junction is 130 kilometres from the park via US Route 50, with Montrose en route.

Amtrak's California Zephyr Emeryville, California - Chicago route has a stop in Grand Junction. The eastbound train from Emeryville is scheduled to arrive at 11:28am, and the westbound train from Chicago is scheduled to arrive at 4:10 pm.

Intercity bus service to Montrose or Grand Junction is available.

There are a number of ways to entering the park. One way is turning north on SR 347 from US Route 50. Another way to get from US Route 50 is to turn north on the East Portal Road. The East Portal Road is closed during the winter. Both routes from US Route 50 take you to the south rim of the canyon. To reach the north rim, you must drive on a gravel road which is closed in the winter from SR 92. There is no public transportation within the park.

The South Rim has more services, facilities and overlooks, and provides better views of the Painted Wall.
The North Rim is accessed via a gravel road, has no visitor center, but does provide better views into the narrowest part of the canyon.
There is no bridge across the canyon. Allow two to three hours to drive from one side to the other.
It is possible to hike to the river but trails are unmaintained and extremely difficult. You can drive to the river on East Portal Road which has a 16% grade and is open mid-April to mid-November. Vehicles longer than 22 feet are not allowed on East Portal Road.

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Eat/Drink

No food services are available except in nearby communities. Water is available mid-May through mid-October. Picnic tables are available along the South Rim at Gunnison Point, Pulpit Rock, Sunset View, High Point and East Portal.

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Sleep

There are many lodging opportunities available in the city of Montrose and in Gunnison.

You can camp inside the park. Camping requires a free permit.

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This is version 1. Last edited at 7:58 on Mar 16, 16 by Utrecht. 4 articles link to this page.

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