Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Black Canyon is located in Gunnison National Park in southwestern Colorado. The canyon is a very deep, narrow gorge, carved by the Gunnison River. It is bounded by sheer cliffs up to heights of 2250 feet (685 m) and is called Black Canyon because its steepness makes it difficult for sunlight to penetrate very far down the canyon. As a result, the canyon walls are almost always in shadow, and so they appear to be black.The national park itself contains the deepest and most dramatic section of the Black Canyon.
The park's main attraction is the scenic drive along the canyon's south rim. Ranger-led activities are also very popular. Boat tours into the canyon, moonlight outings, snowshoe walks, and stargazing are some of the activities arranged by park staff. There is no bridge across the canyon. Allow two to three hours to drive from one side to the other.
Black Canyon is a center for rock climbing; however, most of the climbs are deceptively difficult and are only done by advanced climbers. Experienced rafters and kayakers also make use of Black Canyon, which offers the challenge of Class V rapids, as well as impassible stretches of water that require long, sometimes dangerous portages to get around. Fishing this stretch of the Gunnison Rivier is very highly rated, although hiking trails down in to the river are unmaintained and quite steep. And any journey into the canyon, even for day use, requires a permit, which can be obtained from at the Visitors Center on the south rim or the Rangers Station on the north rim.
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