Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park


Black Canyon of the Gunnison is a very narrow, 2000 foot deep, canyon cut into rock by the Gunnison River during millions of years.  The river became “captured” by very hard rock in this area and ended up without the ability to move side-to-side.  The only choice was to cut straight down through the rock at the rate of 1 inch each century.  The canyon is very deep and very narrow.  The canyon name comes from the lack of sunlight in the narrow canyon.


This park takes a day to see and it is simply wonderful.  At times we were trying to decide whether Black Canyon might be a better sight than the Grand Canyon.  Not that it was grander but that it was less crowded, more natural.  We got out at every viewing area, at times had to hike a small way to the edge, where we were always amazed at the view.  One time it was a riot of colored lines running through the canyon wall.  Another time it was the depth of the canyon wall, twice the height of the Empire State Building. Or a view of the river working it’s way through the canyon it is still creating. Another plus for us was that Pepper was allowed on the trails and she loved it.  She even amazed us when she took to jumping from the open side of the Jeep rather than wait for the seat to be moved forward.  Truly a dog like act.


At the end of the day we chose to drive a steep, winding road to the canyon floor to get up close to the river.  Quite a ride. 


We took quite a few pictures.  One picture shows what appeared to be an Indian’s head on the canyon wall opposite us.  There was no reference to this in the park literature but it sure looked real.  The head was about halfway up a 2000-foot vertical cliff.  Not an easy spot to make a drawing!  In the Black Canyon photo album there are two pictures of the head.  On one of them I have annotated the head as we saw it.  Take a look and flip back and forth between the two pictures.  Do you see it?