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Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park Montrose, CO

Updated: Jul 14, 2022

For living less than two hours from this national park, we hadn’t heard of it. Our visiting friend from West Virginia had told us about it after she had went there, showing us some truly stunning images. Luckily for us the next day was the weekend, so we grabbed our hiking pack and headed south!

Upon arrival, we parked at the South Rim Visitor Center, waiting a couple of minutes for a parking space to empty. This isn’t a large park and expect parking to be an issue during peak summer months. Having made this trip in the middle of October, we felt fortunate to have only waited a couple minutes for a parking spot.

We headed south on Rim Rock Trail with the end destination being a campground about a mile away. This trail has spectacular views of the canyon carved out by the Gunnison River. We took our time hiking this because we didn’t want to miss a single new view. The trail itself has steep drop-offs at times so step cautiously. We did see families alone the trail but if you are afraid of heights, this might not be the trail for you. Looking across the canyon you’ll see Poison Spring Hill, and in the far distance, the Rockies.

After completing the out-and-back trail, we hopped in the car and drove north to Pulpit Rock Overlook. There are several more overlooks if you continue on Rim Drive road, but because we were short on time, we stuck with the PR overlook. No disappointment here! This new perspective looking south, through the canyon was mind-blowing! The steep, black canyon walls, peppered with flora made for a remarkable autumn scene. Take a picnic and eat at one of the many picnic tables located throughout the park while enjoying the rugged expanse of this little-known national park.

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