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Your Guide to Visiting Colorado with the Kids
Family Travel in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Families visiting Black Canyon of the Gunnison, may not realize they are there until the ground suddenly disappears in front of them.

Nothing announces the presence of the canyon from a distance, and its abrupt appearance can be quite startling.

This is no place for people with a fear of heights.

Did You Know?

The tallest sheer cliff face
in Colorado,
Painted Wall
in Black Canyon
of the Gunnison
National Park,
rises 2,250 feet
above the river at its feet. 

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
is one of the most thought provoking attractions you'll ever visit with your family. 

Read our Book Review
The Family Guide to Colorado's National Parks and Monuments

Photo: Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Hidden Heights

As the pointed Rockies slope down to the canyonlands of western Colorado, the Gunnison River digs a jagged trench deep into ancient bedrock. This is Black Canyon of the Gunnison, so named for its dark metamorphic rocks and the shadows in its depths. It lies just off US Highway 50, west of Gunnison and northeast of Montrose, Colorado.

The park, split by the chasm, is divided into two parts, the North Rim and the South Rim. US Highway 50 loops around the south side of the park, while Colorado State Route 92 loops around to the north. To reach the North Rim area, you can leave US 50 at either the Blue Mesa Dam or at Delta, drive toward Crawford, and then branch off into the park from there. The North Rim Road is only partially paved, and is closed in winter. The turnoff to reach the South Rim is about eight miles east of Montrose. Turn north on State Route 347 and climb up towards the park through sagebrush covered gray and yellow hills.

Views of the Uncompahgre Plateau lie to the west, and the West Elk Mountains rise up to the east of the park. To the south is the sweeping San Juan range. Small hills terrace down to the rim of Black Canyon, which drops 2700 feet at its deepest point. At the Chasm View overlook kids love to wave to visitors on the other side, across only 1,100 feet of ravine that drops 1,800 feet between the two points. The spot isn’t recommended for acrophobia sufferers.