First Timer's Guide to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Updated: Dec 26, 2020

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is an adrenaline junkie's paradise. You can obtain permits to go into the canyon to rock climb these massive rocks, kayak through the rapids of the Gunnison River, or any long distance hikes down into the canyon. But, if you're not into that and just would like to admire some of the amazing views this park has to offer, here's my advice to you:


Driving South Rim Road

As you can see in the map above, the park isn't very big. If it's your first time visiting and you want to see as much of the park as possible, I highly recommend just driving the South Rim Road and stopping off at every view point. I will highlight some of the best stops along your journey below:

*Disclaimer: the day we went to the park in Sep 2020, there were so many Colorado wild fires that the area was extremely smoky which will show up in the pictures below.


Gunnison Point

This is probably the most famous viewpoint in the park, probably because it's right next to the Visitor Center. But it offers an amazing view of the rocks, canyon, and Gunnison river below.


Oak Flat Loop Trail

1.3 mi RT, Easy

The trailhead for this hike starts right at the Gunnison Point, so you can continue along the canyon rim for some other spectacular views of the canyon and Gunnison River.


Pulpit Rock


Rock Point


Devil's Lookout


Painted Wall

This was one of my favorite viewpoints because the rock looked like a huge slab of marble! Plus, you had a great view of the Gunnison River running through the canyon.


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