In the scope of national parks and canyons, the Grand Canyon in Arizona garners top prize, but in southern Colorado, between Montrose and Gunnison is another canyon that is pretty grand as well.
The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is a narrow, deep gorge carved by the Gunnison River, with sheer cliffs rising to heights over 2,000 feet. No other canyon in North America combines such a narrow opening, sheer walls and startling depths, and that’s why it is preserved as a National Park.
The Ute people consider it part of their homeland. The first white people to document it were members of the 1873-74 Hayden expedition. They said it was inaccessible.
And for the most part, it is inaccessible, unless you are an experienced rock climber. Those folks love it! Just watching them gives you a new perspective on crazy.
National Park Near Crested Butte
We watched and explored the canyon as a day trip during our visit to Crested Butte and really wished we had had more time for the boat ride or lengthier hikes. The similarity to the Grand Canyon is that funny vertigo feeling you get when you look into its depths.
Unlike the Grand Canyon, you can’t take a mule ride to the bottom, but you can take a boat ride into the canyon from nearby Morrow Point. Looks like we’re going to have to make another trip back to Colorado this summer to check it out.