Experience some of America's most jagged pinnacles in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Over the course of two million years, the Gunnison River has shaped this precipitous landscape into a vertiginous natural sculpture. Brave, wild, and rugged, this National Park offers real challenges and gritty adventures. Nigh impossible rapid rafting, precipitous canyon climbs, and gold standard wild trout fishing await at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park cabins.
Places to Stay Near to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Must-Do Hikes in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
With such cliffhanger scenery, there are new points of interest around every corner when you hike near Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park cabins. Keep your eyes peeled for bears, which are a frequent visitor to these parts, and be sure to maintain safety precautions. Here are some of the park's most impressive hikes:
1. Deadhorse Trail
This five mile round-trip affords spectacular views of Deadhorse Gulch and the rushing Gunnison River. The route teems with birdlife and leads to Kneeling Camel Overlook, and a sparkling spring, a rare phenomenon on the verge of the Black Canyon.
2. Oak Flat Loop Trail
The Oak Flat Loop offers a variety of hikes from challenging ascents to more gradient slopes. Aspen groves shiver in the breeze and Gambel oaks overlook an outcrop with extraordinary views. Continue further though forests of Douglas fir and aspen that vibrate with wildlife. The return leg of the trail supplies another spectacular overlook.
3. Long Draw
The Devil's Slide, as it was formerly known, transports walkers into the thinnest furlongs of the canyon, where sheer canyon walls rise like skyscrapers over the rushing Gunnison River. Balanced Rock Overlook is the location of the trailhead. Descend through elder trees to the river. The mile-long hike can take as long as three hours to complete.
Best Outdoor Adventures in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Black Canyon and the Gunnison National Park is the preserve of serious adventurers. This unforgiving wilderness is a challenge to expert climbers and white water rafters, with golden trout fishing too. Why not try:
1. Rock Climbing in Black Canyon
With depths of almost three thousand feet, the Black Canyon is a natural challenge to any keen climber. With varied adventure climbing areas, the canyon boasts around 145 climbs. Of them, only four are regularly completed. Peak climbing season is April through to mid-September, when conditions are at their finest. Permits are dispensed at the Visitor Center and guided climbs are also available.
2. White Water Rafting on the Gunnison River
Expert kayakers are taxed by the spirited white water that shoots along the rocks that line the Gunnison River. These rapids are Class V and there are several impassable straits. If you are up for the kayaking challenge of a lifetime, this is it.
3. Fishing on the Gunnison River
Welcome to the official Gold Medal Water and Wild Trout Water Gunnison River. Colorado's Wildlife Commission have identified superlative wild trout angling in the river. Popular fishing holes are 200 yards from the Crystal Dam towards the North Fork of the Gunnison. Of Colorado's 9,000 miles of trout rivers, just 168 miles are awarded Gold Medal status. Be aware that rainbow trout are catch and release and that bait is prohibited.
Best Family Activities in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Hotels near Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park promise unparalleled views into the depths of space. Spot Black Bears or cruise the canyon's scenic lookouts. Here are the attractions your children will adore:
1. Stargaze in a Designated International Dark Sky Park
Other galaxies twinkle at visitors to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park Cabins. Fifteen thousand stars illumine the night sky, unfogged by the pollution of city lights which typically obscure two thirds of them. Reconnect with circadian rhythms in this pristine paradise, and soak up the tranquility of this International Dark Sky Park. Rangers and astronomers present talks every Wednesday and Friday night.
2. Scenic Drives
For those with legs too little to explore the park extensively on foot, there are plenty of spectacular sights of the canyon from sweeping drives around the canyon rim. Take a family selfie in front of twelve overlooks along the South Rim Road, before stopping in at the Visitor Center to see special exhibits of canyon geology and ecology. Don't miss the North Rim Road though, the vertical canyon walls produce some of the most impressive scenes in the park. Both take between two and three hours.
3. Wildlife Watching
Children are thrilled by the diversity of wildlife you can see when you stay in hotels near Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Black Bear, mule deer, and Bighorn sheep roam the parkland. Mountain lions and bobcats hide out (usually invisibly) in the juniper forests.
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