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Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park | Introduction
Gunnison Black Canyon National Park (Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park is a lesser-known national park located in Colorado, a five-and-a-half-hour drive from Denver, Colorado, and about a half hour drive fromColorado National MonumentTwo hours. Fewer people know about the Black Canyon National Park because it only became a national park in 1999, which is a relatively young national park.
There is nothing else to see in Black Canyon National Park but the canyon. People who know about the Black Canyon often compare it to theGrand CanyonIn comparison, the depth and length of the Black Canyon are not as good as the Grand Canyon, so why come to the Black Canyon? In fact, the special thing about the Black Canyon is its depth and narrowness. The Black Canyon is 829 meters deep, and the narrowest part is only 12 meters. The reason why the Black Canyon is called the Black Canyon is because it is so deep that the bottom of the canyon only receives 33 minutes of sunshine at noon every day on average, and the rest of the day is pitch black. The reason it is narrower than Grand Canyon is because the rocks here are gneiss and schist, which are much harder than the rocks in Grand Canyon.
The Black Canyon National Park is divided into the South Rim and the North Rim of the canyon. Although the South Rim and the North Rim seem to be very close, only 300 meters or so, it takes three hours to drive to the other side. Most visitors to the Black Canyon only take South Rim Drive. The closest town to the entrance of the South Rim is Montrose, which is the park's visitor center and main attraction. The road is only 7 miles long and can be completed in about three hours, so you can arrange a half-day trip.
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Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park | South Rim Drive Viewpoints
Driving around the Black Canyon is very simple. There are 12 viewpoints on South Rim Drive from Tomichi Point to High Point, but most of them require a short walk, although not very long, if you go to each one of the viewpoints, you will be climbing a long trail. Below is a list of these sites in the order in which they are listed after entering the entrance. If you want to pick some important points, the most recommended ones are Gunnison point, Chasm view, Painted Wall and Sunset View.
Tomichi Point is the first viewpoint of South Rim Drive. As soon as you enter, you can see that the Black Canyon is very narrow, and you can't see the bottom from afar.
South Rim Visitor Center | Gunnison Point | Gunnison Route
The second stop was the South Rim Visitor Center, which is actually not that big, and introduced the formation and history of the canyon.
You may find the name of this national park quite confusing, the full name is Gunnison Black Canyon National Park, in fact, this is because the national park is named after the Gunnison River that cuts out the Black Canyon, and the Gunnison River is named after John Gunnison, an explorer who came here in 1850. Some people think that Gunnison was the one who discovered the Black Canyon, but he was actually the one who came to survey it. In 1853, for the construction of the Pacific Railroad, Gunnison, a lieutenant in the U.S. Army, was ordered to lead a team of surveyors to survey the Black Canyon, which was so rugged that it was very hard to traverse and could not be crossed even after many attempts. In the end, Gunnison was killed by the Indians on his last expedition, and the river was renamed the Gunnison River in his honor.
One of the most famous viewpoints, Gunnison Point, is located right behind the Visitor Center and is one of the most spectacular sights to see. There are three trails behind the visitor center. If you want to enjoy the feeling of walking down the canyon, you can take the 2-mile Oak Flat Trail, which is also known as the Gunnison Route, and you can walk down into the canyon. However, you don't have to climb all the way, after all, it's dark and gloomy down there, and you can see the steep walls of the mountain when you walk a little bit in front of you.
Pulpit Rock has two viewpoints along the trail, one on the left and one on the right. From here we can clearly see the difference in steepness between the north and south rims, with the north rim having a gradient of 3% and the south rim having a gradient of 63%. From here, we can also see the Gunnison River, which is one of the most rapid rivers in North America, but it is said to be less rapid now due to the construction of the dams on the upper reaches. Before the dams, the river was eroding rock at a rate of 14 inches per 100 years, which is pretty fast, so it's no wonder it cuts such deep canyons. Even with the dams now, it still looks pretty amazing to us.
Cross Fissures View
The distance from the parking lot to the viewpoint is 375 yards, the view here is a bit different, you can mainly see the fissures formed by the rocks, so it's called Cross Fissures View, in fact, although this point is a point, in fact, it feels more like a shorter cliff side loop trail, because the canyon is really very vertical, and if you are afraid of heights, you may also feel a bit scared.
From the parking lot, I walked 294 yards to the viewpoint, which is not the main recommended viewpoint, but it is actually quite impressive. The rocks are slightly bluish, straight up and down, as if they were cut out by someone.
This attraction is about the mountain wall, and you have to walk 607 yards from the parking lot, which is actually quite a long way. If you have limited time, you may consider skipping it.
This is one of the most famous attractions in the world, and I think it should be in the top three after actually coming here. The canyon is only 335 meters from north to south, the narrow canyon looks spectacular, and the vertical walls make Chasm View a favorite spot for rock climbers.
Painted Wall View
The Painted Wall is the signature of the Black Canyon. Rising from the Gunnison River, the wall is one-third taller than Taipei 101, and its layered, patterned rock walls are the main attraction. The rock on the wall is lightly textured granite, known as the Painted Wall because of its many different patterns.
Painted Wall View is said to be the best place to see Painted Wall, mainly because you don't have to walk too much to see the magnificent Painted Wall. the actual viewpoint at the bottom is 200 yards. when I came here, I also thought this is the number 1 viewpoint, but unfortunately, the light was not cooperating with the viewer, so the photo is not perfect.
Cedar Point is also a place to see the Painted Wall, you need to take a small walk to the 303 yard road to reach the observation deck, but the angle of the Painted Wall is different, the Gunnison River seen here is more turbulent, and it is also worth a walk.
Dragon Point, walk 100 yards to the viewpoint, also see the Painted Wall view, the angle is similar to Painted Wall View, when we came here, it was near sunset, so we feel it is still a bit different. However, if you have limited time, you can choose one place to see the Painted Wall, such as Painted Wall View, Cedar Point and Dragon Point.
Sunset View is very beautiful if you come here during sunset. The Gunnison River starts to go north from here, and the canyon looks flatter here, it feels more like a mountain view than a canyon view, and you can also see part of the Painted Wall.
High Point is the end point of South Rim Drive, where you can see the entire Painted Wall, and there is also a 1.5 mile long trail.
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