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Ranger Programs for Families Visiting Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Black Canyon of the Gunnison Programs

Families visiting Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado, will find a variety of programs, including ranger talks, self-guided tours, and the opportunity to earn a Junior Ranger Badge.

Did You Know?

You don't need to be a kid to earn a Junior Ranger Badge.

One ranger told of a group of retired geologists who were touring the parks and having a riot filling out the booklets and earning their badges.

Photo: Lupine are among the many wildflowers that bloom in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

Image: Junior Ranger Booklet for Black Canyon of the Gunnison
National Park. Kids can pick one up at either Visitor Center.
When they fill it out, they can earn a Junior Ranger Badge.

Campfire Talks are held only at the South Rim Campground amphitheater. They start at 9 p.m. and last about an hour. In the past they have been held on Friday, Saturday, and Monday nights, but check at the visitor center for an updated schedule.

Overlook Ranger Talks are held throughout the summer months at the various viewpoints along the South Rim. The visitor center has schedules that include times and topics.

Special Programs with guest speakers are held from time to time during the summer. They are usually held in the evening and have included star talks with an astronomer, a bird talk with slides from an avian expert, and stories of scaling the canyon walls from Colorado climbing pioneers. Check online, in the Montrose Press, and at the visitor center for more information.

The Black Canyon’s Junior Ranger Program includes a workbook with several activities that are appropriate for a variety of age groups. From coloring and dot-to-dot pictures to crosswords and role-playing, they help kids and their parents to understand the forces at work in Black Canyon of the Gunnison. When kids have completed their assigned activities, they can return to the South Rim visitor center or the ranger station on the North Rim, where a ranger will ask them about their work and award them a Junior Ranger Badge for the park.

The park offers lesson plans and pre- and post-visit activities for their educational outreach programs. The pre-K through twelfth grade Curriculum Enhancement Series adheres to National Teachers of Mathematics, National Science Teachers Association, and Colorado Content standards. Teachers can download the lesson plans from the Black Canyon website and call ahead to reserve a time for a field trip. Teachers can participate in continuing education classes, and the park has Elderhostel offerings as well.