Top things to do in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Top Things to Do in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is a hidden gem nestled in the scenic mountains of Colorado. With its steep cliffs, dramatic views, and abundant wildlife, it offers a wide range of activities for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you’re an avid hiker, photographer, or simply seeking a peaceful retreat in nature, this park has something for everyone. Here is a list of the top things to do in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

1. Scenic Drive along South Rim Road

Embark on a breathtaking drive along South Rim Road, which offers stunning panoramic views of the canyon. Marvel at the steep granite walls plunging into the Gunnison River below, creating a dramatic and awe-inspiring landscape. Be sure to stop at the various overlooks along the way to take in the beauty of this natural wonder.

2. Hiking Trails for All Skill Levels

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park offers a variety of hiking trails suitable for all skill levels. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker, there is a trail for you. The popular Warner Point Nature Trail offers a short and easy hike with spectacular views, while the challenging Gunnison Route provides a more strenuous adventure for experienced hikers. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the breathtaking scenery along the way.

3. Wildlife Spotting

Get up close and personal with the park’s diverse wildlife. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is home to a wide range of animals, including mule deer, elk, bighorn sheep, and black bears. Keep your eyes peeled as you explore the park for a chance to spot these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. Remember to maintain a safe distance and respect their space.

4. Camping under a Starry Sky

Experience the magic of camping in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Spend a night or two under the starry sky and immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature. The park offers several campsites, both developed and backcountry, where you can pitch your tent or park your RV. Fall asleep to the sounds of nature and wake up to breathtaking views right outside your door.

5. Photography Opportunities

Calling all photography enthusiasts! Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park offers endless opportunities to capture stunning photographs. With its unique geological formations, rugged cliffs, and vibrant colors, this park is a photographer’s dream come true. Capture the ever-changing light as it reflects off the canyon walls or photograph the wildlife in action. Be sure to bring your tripod and a variety of lenses to make the most of your photography experience.

6. Fishing in the Gunnison River

The Gunnison River, which flows through the park, is an angler’s paradise. Grab your fishing gear and spend a peaceful day casting your line and trying to catch some trout. The river is known for its trout population, making it a popular spot for fly fishing. Enjoy the serenity of the flowing water and the thrill of waiting for a bite. Just be sure to have a valid fishing license before you embark on your fishing adventure.

7. Ranger-led Programs and Guided Tours

Join the park rangers for informative and educational programs to enhance your visit. Participate in guided tours and hikes led by knowledgeable rangers who will provide insights into the park’s geology, history, and wildlife. These programs are a great way to learn more about the area and make the most of your visit to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

8. Rock Climbing and Bouldering

If you are an adrenaline junkie seeking an adventurous experience, look no further than the rock walls of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. The park offers exciting opportunities for rock climbing and bouldering. Climb the vertical walls and challenge yourself to reach new heights while enjoying the breathtaking views from above. Make sure to bring the necessary gear and consult with park authorities for safety guidelines and regulations.

9. Rafting and Kayaking on the Gunnison River

The Gunnison River provides an exhilarating experience for water enthusiasts. Take a rafting or kayaking trip down the river and navigate the thrilling rapids while surrounded by the beauty of the canyon. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced paddler, there are options for everyone. Feel the rush of adrenaline and enjoy the unique perspective of the park from the water.

10. Junior Ranger Program

If you’re visiting with children, make sure to participate in the Junior Ranger Program. Designed to engage and educate young visitors, this program allows kids to complete various activities and earn a Junior Ranger badge. It’s a fun and interactive way for children to learn about the park’s natural wonders and develop a deeper appreciation for wildlife and conservation.


Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park truly offers a one-of-a-kind experience for nature lovers and adventure seekers. From breathtaking views to thrilling outdoor activities, there is no shortage of things to do in this hidden gem. Whether you choose to embark on a scenic drive, hike along the trails, or simply relax and soak in the beauty of the surroundings, a visit to this park will leave you with unforgettable memories. Plan your trip, pack your bags, and get ready for a remarkable adventure in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

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