We loved visiting the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park near Montrose in western Colorado. The views of the dramatic drops and cliffs in the deep gorge that was carved by the Gunnison River are just mesmerizing.
We loved hiking on the trails, especially the Warner Point Nature Trail, a moderately rated 1.5 miles round trip trail that leads to a few great outlooks. Pick up a trail guide at the High Point Overlook and read the educational brochure according to the numbered posts along the trail. From the trail you can see the San Juan Mountain Range, Uncompahgre Valley, and West Elk Mountains, and deep down below you can see and hear the Gunnison River.
Bring a picnic and enjoy the views either along the trail at one of the outlooks or at Warner Point. Along the South Rim Road several stops have picnic tables available, we recommend Sunset View, High Point and Pulprit Rock for a nice sit-down meal to enjoy the gorgeous views.
For a hike down to the river you need to be very well prepared and get a permit at the visitor center. The trails to the river and back up are not only super steep but also not maintained or marked trails. Routes are difficult to follow and and only recommended for very experienced hikers in excellent physical condition and endurance.
There are three campgrounds within the national park and free camping can be found on nearby Black Canyon BLM (bureau of land management owned land) and BLM and National Forests near Montrose and Delta, CO.
We think Black Canyon of the Gunnison is one of the hidden gems of the US National Parks and definitely recommend a visit!
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