Black Canyon of the Gunnison is a unique national park. It has breathtaking views with steepest cliffs, oldest rock and craggiest spires. Even though the park is small it is worth visiting. The park is the best destination for nature lovers, hikers and photographers. Here we have mentioned the top places to visit in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.
Black Canyon has two sections, the north and south rim. North Rim has the best views in the national park. The park gives you plenty of activities to explore from hiking to rock climbing. It also offers some breathtaking views that cannot be missed.
North Rim is the easiest to access in the park. It is 11 miles southwest of Crawford, Colorado. As you reach Highway 92, you need to turn west on Black Canyon Road for about 3 miles south of Crawford. When you are about to reach the park the last 7 miles are unpaved. It has lots to offer you with breathtaking views and challenging hikes. There are two longer hikes and one short hike.
Chasm View Nature Trail
Chasm View Nature Trail is a 0.60 mile loop trail located at the end of the campground loop. After a short distance, the trail leads you to the pinyon forest which is 1800 feet above the river. As you continue the trail it reaches an overlook with views of Painted Wall and Serpent Point. The trail is the best spot for bird watching you get to see swifts, swallows and raptors which can be seen from this overlook. The trail offers an opportunity to hike through the most beautiful views and short hike if you are staying at the North Rim Campground.
North Vista Trail
North Vista Trail is 7 miles.It offers the best scenic views and also the best spot in the park for bird watching.The trail starts from the North Rim Ranger Station. It takes you through an area of sage and oak brush, and leads you in a pinyon forest along the canyon’s rim. There are several overlooks with breathtaking views. As you continue to Green Mountain you get to see a panoramic view which includes the San Juan Mountains, the West Elks, Grand Mesa, the Uncompahgre Plateau. North Vista Trail is the best trail for nature lovers.
Deadhorse Trail is a 5 miles round trip. The trail rewards you with the stunning views of Deadhorse Gulch and East Portal. The trailhead starts from the Kneeling Camel Overlook, it is also the parking area. This is also the best view on this hike. Deadhorse Gulch has the vast drainage to the east of the overlook and fence.
The South Rim has plenty of viewpoints and also gives better views of the Painted Wall. It has more services, and facilities than North Rim. From the South Rim, you can see the closer viewpoints of the Grand Canyon. To reach the South Rim you need to travel 7 miles north on CO Highway 347 from the intersection with the U.S. Highway 50 east of Montrose.
Rim Rock Nature Trail
Rim Rock is 2 miles round trip. The trail is a self-guided nature trail that takes you along a flat path following the rim of the canyon. This trail rewards you with many excellent views of the Gunnison River and even the sheer walls of the canyon. The trail starts from the entrance to Campground Loop C and ends at the South Rim Visitor Center.
The trail links the Rim Rock Trail to the upper Oak Flat Loop Trail. It is an easy short trail of 2.20 mile. The best time to hike the trail is early morning and late evening, you get to see the sunset and sunrise. It is also the best time to see the wildlife. When you hike along the trail make sure to watch out for the mammals and birds.
Cedar Point Nature Trail
Cedar Point Nature Trail is an easy 2.3 mile round trip. It is also the best places to see the local flora, the trail has various plants along the way. As the trail ends it leads you to two overlooks that offer breathtaking views of the river. You also get to see the Painted Wall, the tallest cliff in Colorado.