Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park photo by T.Schofield via Shutterstock.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, in Colorado, is renowned for its dramatic, deep, and narrow canyons. Carved by the Gunnison River, its stark beauty and dizzying cliffs invite exploration.

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Fast Facts

State(s): Colorado
Area: 30,750 acres (124.4 sq km) – 56th largest national park of 63
Highest Elevation: Signal Hill – 8,775 ft (2674.62 m)
Lowest Elevation: Gunnison River – 5,440 ft (1658.11 m)
Date Established: October 21, 1999
Annual Visitors: 297,257 visitors in 2022
Nearest Town: Montrose, Colorado

Recommended Day Hikes

Park Tracker considers a “day hike” to be a hike under 10 miles. Below we provide our top five recommendations inside the park, along with AllTrails links to the hikes.

  1. Cedar Point Nature Trail (0.4 mi, Easy) – Offers the best views on the south rim, ideal for families and bird watching​​.
  2. Oak Flat Trail (2 mi, Moderate) – Features over 300 feet of elevation change, providing a variety of vegetation and views​​.
  3. Rim Rock Nature Trail (2 mi, Easy) – A point-to-point hike from the South Rim Campground to Gunnison Point Overlook, offering outstanding canyon views​​.
  4. Uplands Connector Trail (2 mi, Easy) – Known for its wildflowers and vegetation, best in late April and early May​​.
  5. Warner Point Nature Trail (1.5 mi, Easy) – Offers great views of the San Juan Mountain Range and Uncompahgre Valley, with interpretive signs along the way​​.

🧗🏻‍♂️ Popular Activities in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Black Canyon of the Gunnison is about more than just hiking. See below for some of the best non-hiking activities to do in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

  1. Scenic drives on South Rim Road
  2. Wildlife viewing (e.g., elk, golden eagles)
  3. Fishing in the Gunnison River
  4. Joining ranger-led evening programs
  5. Rock climbing for experienced climbers

🛎️ Where to Stay Near Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

While there are ample camping and vacation rental options near most US national parks, I personally highly prefer staying at Hilton-branded properties when traveling to national parks. As such, below are the five closest Hilton properties to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

  1. Hampton Inn Montrose – 10.1 mi from park
  2. Tru by Hilton Grand Junction Downtown – 55.8 mi from park
  3. Hampton Inn Grand Junction Downtown – 55.9 mi from park
  4. DoubleTree by Hilton Grand Junction – 56.6 mi from park
  5. Home2 Suites by Hilton Grand Junction – 58.8 mi from park

🍔 What to Eat Near Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

After hiking and exploring Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, odds are high you’re going to be hungry. Here are five of the best restaurant options within and near the park.

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