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Encyclopedia > Black Canyon of the Gunnison
Black Canyon of the Gunnison
Designation National Park
Location West Central Colorado, United States
Nearest Cities Montrose, Colorado,
Crawford, Colorado
Latitude 39 00' N
Longitude 107 00' W
Area 30,045 acres
12,159 hectares
Date of Establishment October 21, 1999
Visitation 174,346 (2002)
Governing Body National Park Service
IUCN category II (National Park)

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.

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Black Canyon of the Gunnison (3243 words)
The extraordinary Black Canyon of the Gunnison (BCG) is a prime example of the latter pathway, and "extraordinary" hardly does it justice.
Black Canyon Gneiss: The dark wall rocks seen here are the Black Canyon Gneiss, a suite of 1.78-1.65 Ga quartzitic gneisses, mica schists, intruding granites and migmatites, the last with the swirling banded pattern of light and dark taffies pulled together.
Everywhere, the canyon walls are laced with white and pink veins of granite and pegmatite related to 1.4 Ga and later intrusions particularly well displayed in the Painted Wall.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park (940 words)
Black Canyon of the Gunnison in west-central Colorado
As canyons go, the Grand Canyon was deeper and Capitol Gorge (at Capitol Reef National Park) was narrower, but I have never seen any canyon that combined the depth, steepness, and ruggedness of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park may be reached from either the north or the south, but most visitor services are along the south rim.
  More results at FactBites »



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