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The two RV Gypsies went to the
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
in Colorado

August 25, 2012
sign: Black Canyon of The Gunnison National Parkroad map

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is a United States National Park located in western Colorado. There are two entrances to the park; the more-developed south rim entrance is located 15 miles east of Montrose, while the north rim entrance is located 11 miles south of Crawford and is closed in the winter. The park contains 12 miles of the 48-mile 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 the Curecanti National Recreation Area and downstream into the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in Colorado is an awesome gorge. There are three Scenic drives - North Rim Road, East Portal Road and South Rim Road. The two RV Gypsies found themselves at the North Rim Road.

The North Rim is reached by taking a gravel road from the east end of Crawford State Park. The North Rim Road provides access to 6 overlooks. The canyon walls on the North Rim are almost vertical, offering some of the most impressive views found in the national park.

The Narrows Lookout

panorama of The Narrows Lookout

A partial railing keeps visitors safe from falling into the canyon.

a partial railing keeps you safe from falling into the canyon
Narrows Lookout into the Gunnison River

Geology: The Gunnison River

The Gunnison River drops an average of 34 feet per mile through the entire canyon, making the 5th steepest mountain descents in North America. In comparison, the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon drops an average of 7.5 feet per mile. The greatest descent of the Gunnison River occurs in the park at Chasm View dropping 240 feet per mile. The Black Canyon is so named on account of its steepness which makes it difficult for sunlight to penetrate very far down the canyon. As a result, the canyon walls are most often in shadow, causing the rocky walls to appear black. At its narrowest point the canyon is only 40 feet across at the river.

The extreme steepness and depth of the Black Canyon formed as the result of several geologic processes acting together. The Gunnison River is primarily responsible for carving the canyon, though several other geologic events had to occur in order to form the canyon as it is seen today.

The Gunnison River
The Gunnison River

Black Canyon of the Gunnison has some of the steepest cliffs, oldest rock, and craggiest spires in North America. With two million years to work, the Gunnison River, along with the forces of weathering, has sculpted this vertical wilderness of rock, water, and sky.

steep cliff at The Narrows
steep cliff
steep cliff
steep cliff
steep cliff and the Gunnison River
view from the lookout
top of the cliff on the other side
top of the cliff on the other side
panorama of the cliffs

The North Rim of the Black Canyon is far more scenic than the South Rim. The canyon seems wider, the views of the river are more expansive, and there are far less people. There is no way to get from the South Rim to North Rim without a long drive.

Balanced Rock

Balanced Rock at Black Canyon
Balanced Rock at Black Canyon
Balanced Rock at Black Canyon
Balanced Rock at Black Canyon

Looking straight down into the canyon

looking across the canyon

The Gunnison River by the Balanced Rock
looking across the canyon by Balanaced Rock
cliff by Balanced Rock

Lee Duquette on the easy trail back to the car

Lee Duquette

Big Island

panorama at Big Island
Big Island lookout and railing
a big colorful boulder
cliff and Gunnison River at Big Island
cliff and Gunnison River at Big Island
cliff and Gunnison River at Big Island

Island Peaks

Lee Duquette at the Island Peaks trail
flowers at Island Peaks lookout
panorama of the cliffs at Islnad Peaks in Black Canyon
birds on the cliffs at Islnad Peaks in Black Canyon
formations on the cliffs
sharp pointy cliffs at Black Canyon National Park
cliffs at Black Canyon National Park
cliffs at Black Canyon National Park
birds and cliffs at Black Canyon National Park
cliffs at Black Canyon National Park
cliffs at Black Canyon National Park
formations at Black Canyon National Park
cliffs at Black Canyon National Park
looking over the cliff at Black Cnayon National Park
panorama of the cliffs at Islnad Peaks in Black Canyon

Leaving the Island Peaks Lookout, the two RV Gypsies noticed that several rocks embedded into the ground were very silver and shiny.

shiny rocks
shiny rocks

Kneeling Camel - do you see it?

Kneeling Camel at Black Canyon National Park
Kneeling Camel at Black Canyon National Park
sign about the deep and awesome canyon
panorama at Keneeling Camel
pointy formations at Kneeling Camel
pointy formations at Kneeling Camel
pointy formations at Kneeling Camel
pointy formations at Kneeling Camel
 
cliffs and the Gunnison River

The Visitor Center was on the other side of the park, and the two RV Gypsies could not get there in time to buy a pin or anything for her travel tree. This note was placed here, so they would know to get there in time should they ever return to this area. Plus they would really like to spend more time exploring this National Park.

look below

go back to the Colorado Menu page Please return to the Colorado menu page for more adventures of the two RV Gypsies in Colorado, or you can jump ahead to Arizona if you so choose.