Black Canyon of the Gunnison National
Park contains 14 miles of the 48-mile long
Black Canyon of the Gunnison River. The
park contains the deepest and most dramatic
section of the canyon, which continues outside
the park to the Curecanti National Recreation
Area upstream and the Gunnison Gorge
National Conservation area downstream.
The park is situated within the Colorado
Plateau, a geologic region characterized by
high deserts, deep canyons and pygmy forests.
Visitors can experience these features along the
Warner Point Nature Trail—the highest elevation on the park’s South Rim. Pinyon pine and
juniper trees dominate this pygmy forest.
A drive along the canyon rim allows visitors
to experience a Gambel oak thicket, including
a kaleidoscope of wildflowers and grasses
clinging to the roadsides.
There are several trails within the park that
range from easy to strenuous. The Rim Rock
Nature Trail on the South Rim is a 1-mile
moderate hike that provides excellent views of
the Gunnison River as well as the sheer walls
of the canyon. The Chasm View Nature Trail
is a moderate one-third mile round trip trail on
the North Rim that provides excellent views
of Painted Wall and Serpent Point as well as
opportunities for bird watching. You might
even see people just 1, 100 feet away on the
South Rim from the Chasm View overlook.
There are two campgrounds at Black Canyon
of the Gunnison National Park. Campgrounds
within the park offer water, vault toilets, tables
and fire grates.
The South Rim Campground is located about
6 miles north of the intersection of Highway
247 and Highway 50 east of Montrose. The
campground, which is located at an elevation
of 8,320 feet, is open year-round. All sites are
in an oak-brush forest. Electrical hookups are
available at some sites.
North Rim Campground is located about 16
miles southwest of Crawford. All sites are
shaded with a Pinyon-Juniper forest. The
campground frequently fills during spring
and fall, and sometimes during the summer
months. Sites are available on a first-come,
first-served basis. The campground is located
at an elevation of 7,783 feet.
Just outside the park in the Curecanti National
Recreation Area is the East Portal Campground, about 2 miles downstream of Crystal
Dam at the bottom of Black Canyon. The
campground is shaded by box elder trees and
is located near the historic Gunnison River
Diversion Tunnel. All sites are first-come, first
served. The campground is located at an elevation of 6,526 feet.
• Generators can be used at the North Rim
Campground but are not allowed in the
South Rim Campground.
• All sites have a maximum 14 consecutive
day stay during a 30-day period.
• Up to eight people and two vehicles are
allowed per site.
• Vehicles longer than 35 feet are not
• Pets are allowed in campsites during the
summer but they are not allowed on walks
and may not be carried around the South
Rim Campground or on the Rim Rock
Trail due to potentially aggressive dear
protecting their fawns. Pets on leashes may
be walked near North Rim Campground,
overlooks, Cedar Point Nature Trail and
North Rim Chasm View Nature Trail. Pets
are not allowed on any other hiking trails,
inner canyon routes or in the wilderness
area, on ranger-led geology walks or evening
programs in the campground amphitheater.
• Water is brought in by truck, so RV water
filling is not available.
• The park maintains a visitor center and
picnic area near the campground where the
railroad town of Cimarron once existed.
An outdoor exhibit with loading corrals
and stock cars gives visitors a glimpse of the
• There are no restaurants inside the park,
but a variety of restaurants are available in
Montrose, near the South Rim.
Black Canyon of the
Gunnison National Park
South Rim Visitor Center, 9800 Highway 347,
Located in Western Colorado, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National park has
two primary entrances, one on the canyon’s south rim located 15 miles east of
Montrose, and one on the north rim, which is 11 miles south of Crawford.
LEISURE AND RECREATION