Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

montrose ute trail gunnison river

Where we stayed

We kind of ended up visiting Black Canyon by accident! Read about our time in Montrose, CO in this post.

What we did

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montrose ute trail
montrose gunnison river
montrose ute trail sleeping dog

Black Canyon National Park is more about driving than hiking. We drove through the park, stopping at overlooks, admiring the views of the deep, dark canyon with the Gunnison River far below. The rocks aren’t actually black in Black Canyon; the Black comes from the shadows cast by the tall walls in the narrow canyon. It’s dramatic and beautiful and in stark contrast to the red rocks we’d gotten used to seeing everywhere.

Hiking in the National Park consists of walking to overlooks, and hiking down, down, down the cliffs to the river–and then up, up, up. And, of course, the hikes are not dog-friendly. But just outside the National Park you can hike down to the Gunnison River along a longer, gentler trail through a wider, greener section of the gorge. The Ute Trail reaches the Gunnison River after descending about four miles, with a few stellar overlooks along the way. The hike was one of our favorites from the entire trip! Warning: you’ll need a rugged vehicle to reach the trailhead.

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