Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is a United States National Park located in western Colorado. There are two entrances to the park which is managed by the National Park Service. The more developed south rim entrance is located 15 miles (24 km) east of Montrose. The north rim entrance is located 11 miles (18 km) south of Crawford and is closed in the winter. The park is 47 (122 km ) in size.
Black Canyon is a deep gorge which the Gunnison River flows through. It is so deep and narrow that little sunlight reaches the into it, making the walls look black.
In the canyon, the Gunnison River drops an average of 96 feet per mile (18 m/km). In one 2-mile (3 km) stretch it drops 480 feet (150 m). From the top of the canyon one can hear the river as it crashes through the canyon.
The canyon is composed of quartz monzonite, a type of granite.
Plants native to the park include: Aspen, Ponderosa pine, Sagebrush, desert mahogany, Utah Juniper, Gambel oak (scrub oak), and Singleleaf Ash.
Some birds that live in the park are: Great Horned Owl (resident), Mountain Bluebird (migratory), Steller's jay (resident), Peregrine falcon (migratory), White-throated Swift (migratory), Canyon Wren (migratory), American Dipper (resident).
The main attraction of the park is the scenic drive along the south rim. There is also a campground and several miles of hiking and nature trails. The river can be accessed by a steep, unmaintained trail that takes about 4 hours to hike down and 6 to hike back.
Black Canyon from Tomichi Point
The area was established as a U.S. National Monument on March 2, 1933 and made into a National Park on October 21, 1999.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison is also a symphonic composition by Frank Erickson, which has been performed on the rim of the canyon.