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Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado


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One of our camping stops when we were touring Colorado and Utah last fall was Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.  It’s not a large park but was well worth the stop. It’s called Black Canyon because the canyon formed by the Gunnison River is so narrow and so deep the canyon walls can appear very dark.  The closest town is Montrose, about 15 miles away.

 

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We camped at the South Rim Campground which is just inside the park entrance and is at about 8,300 feet and easy hiking distance to the canyon. There are 3 loops in the campground, A and B for RV’s and Loop C for tent campers. Loop B does have 30 amp electric hookups at each site, no water or sewer. Picnic table at each site. Each Loop has a set of vault toilets and drinking water. Since they truck water in there is no filling of RV tanks and no dump station.  Reservations are accepted for Loops A and B from the middle of May to the middle of September.

 

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We were outside the reservations window, so it was first come first served. We arrived mid afternoon and had no problem getting a site in Loop B (B15) with electricity which allowed us to run our little Vornado space heater since the nights got quite cool. We would have been fine with the furnace.  $22/night or half with the senior pass.  Both Loops A and B were full before dark.

 

There are plenty of hiking opportunities and you can also drive the road along the canyon stopping at various pull offs to hike to the rim of the canyon.  Maps, reservations and more information are on the park website.  Mike

 

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Cool, thanks for the info.

 

Did you drive down to the river on East Portal Rd?

 

Did you also visit nearby Dinosaur NM?

 

John Davies

 

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John, no and no.  We’re calling this trip our “overview” trip. We spent 5 weeks and visited Colorado Springs, RMNP, Black Canyon NP, Mesa Verde NP, then to Moab for Canyonlands NP and Arches NP. We made notes of sites to see on return trips. Four days in the Montrose/Gunnison area was not enough. After our Rally trip in April and May we’re meeting our son and family in Crested Butte in June and might see Dinosaur NM then.  So much to see... Mike

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John - I stopped t Dinosaur NM several years ago while on a western motorcycle trip.  I'm not a big fossil guy but certainly there are some big fossils there.  In fact, right in the "reception" area there is a very large fossil that basically started it all in this area.  Certainly this is worth a visit if you are in the area.

 

Bill

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We were there both before and after leading the Southern Utah Tour for Don Taylor last Spring and summer.  It was on my bucket list of placed to go.  We came up from Durango and Silverton across Red Mountain Pass.  This is a very pretty area and has long been one of our favorites.  We did drive down to the river on the East Portal Road.  We did not visit Dinosaur NM on this trip but I did visit there back in September of 1997 when the fossils were younger.

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We did not visit Dinosaur NM on this trip but I did visit there back in September of 1997 when the fossils were younger.

 

The fossils were younger or the Landrum’s were younger?  Both! ?

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Bill,

 

We started in Colorado Springs then went to RMNP (Grand Lake side) mostly on I-70. Then we went to Black Canyon on I-70 and Hwy 50 through Montrose. From Black Canyon we went to Mesa Verde down Hwy 550 through Ouray and Silverton to Durango. This road is not for the faint of heart. Some parts over the passes are very narrow with no guardrail.  We encountered all kinds of weather, sunshine and t-shirts, rain and sweatshirts, sleet and snow - all in a very short time. There was a moderate amount of traffic and the speeds are slow. Very scenic. We enjoyed the drive and would do it again. Pulling the trailer posed no issues.  Mike

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Mike,

 

Will be traveling on I70 from Utah through CO, not too far from Black Canyon .  Looks like we will need to make several trips to Colorado with plenty of exploring to do.

 

Appreciate the information,

Bill & Debbie / 2015 LE2 #75 / 2024 F-150 5.0L / North Carolina

 

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