Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Some people are under the misconception that all national parks in North America were founded many years ago, and have been protected land for longer than they themselves have been alive, but many of the national parks on the national park registry are not as old as you may think.

Plan your visit to
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Colorado’s Finest

One example of this is Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. It was founded in 1999, so it is relatively new to the national park registry, but since its opening, the 30,750 acres of Colorado wilderness has attracted more than 200,000 visitors each year. The reasons that people flock to this smaller than normal national park are numerous. Here are a few.

When to go

April – May – June – July – August – September – October


Fishing – Stunning Vistas – Geological Formations – Climbing – Hiking – Horseback Riding – Rafting – Scenic Drives – Bird-Watching – Winter Sports

Sculpted to Perfection

One of the best sculptors in history is not found in flesh and blood but rather in the nature around us. The Colorado river is quite long and winding, but it has taken millions of years of erosion to achieve the path that the river is now on. During that time the river has wound through rocky cliffs and pounded its way through the earth creating some of the most breathtaking rock structures that can be found anywhere in North America. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park has all the canyons and rock faces that rock enthusiasts crave.

Extreme Hiking

There are hiking trails in practically every national park in North America, but when you plan a hike in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, the simple task turns into an extreme sport. Unlike other national parks that encourage hiking on well-marked trails throughout the park, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park was designed to encourage self-discovery. Although this may be a significant draw to the avid hiker, there are certain precautions that you should take while hiking within the park.

The lack of trails into the canyons of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park means that the hiker has to find his or her own way to the bottom. With such steep descents, you always have to maintain your composure as well as plan every step carefully. While you are climbing down it is recommended that you mentally keep track of good footing places so you can get out of the canyon easier. Keep the light in mind as well. Unless you want to camp within the canyon, when the sun goes down, a climb out can be next to impossible. Safety should always be your top priority on any of the hikes through this particular national park.

Fishing Opportunities

Fishing is an activity the whole family can get involved in. Fishing in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is a wonderful experience because it is a hot spot for trout. Although the rainbow trout within the park are protected and only available for catch and release, the brown trout are completely up for grabs. There is however a daily limit of 8 brown trout per fisherman, so make sure you stay within those bounds. The proper fishing license is required so make arrangements to get yours at the visitor’s center before fishing. Bait is also restricted to artificial lures, so no natural bait is permitted while fishing and the activity is only available during the warmer months.

Things to Know

Fees within Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park are put in place to maintain the park and keep rangers on staff. The fees are relatively minimal compared to other national parks with a $15 fee assessed for passenger vehicles and motorcycles and a $7 fee for individuals arriving on foot or non-motorized transportation. An annual pass can be purchased for $30 should you decide to make the trip to the park a more than once per year occurrence.

Camping within Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is something that should not be missed. The campgrounds offered are found on the North Rim, South Rim, and East Portal and each one has its own restrictions and price setting. The prices however are between $8 and $22 depending on the amenities desired. It should also be noted that the campgrounds are managed on a first come first serve basis and therefore to secure a spot you should not wait until the last minute of the day.

It is always a good idea to remember that although the national parks allow for people to come visit, it is ultimately home to many animals. In Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park there are many species of wild and sometimes dangerous animals. They tend to stay away from human but encounters with both black bears and mountain lions have happened. Never approach one of these animals and back away slowly if you have an accidental close encounter. Never make direct eye contact with a bear, but staring a mountain lion directly in the eye usually keeps them from attacking.