Into the Black Canyon today. Zeb and Soapy Smith Duck are eager. Let’s go!
We are just inside this national park. The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is in western Colorado, near the towns of Montrose and Gunnison. Today we are driving around the South Rim. The first overlook is Tomichi Point.
This is a stunning first view. We are going to like it here. Let’s go to the Visitor’s Center. We always do, but wait, from the Visitor’s Center we see something behind the building.
Mom, let’s take that path, now. Look at these rock walls of the Black Canyon.
So, steep! Looking behind us and up, but where is the Visitor’s Center?
Here it is.
As always, there was great information inside. After browsing, and some purchasing, we return to the car, driving along the South Rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. The Gunnison is the name of the river that carved this canyon. From Pulpit Rock Overlook, the first of many overlooks after the Visitor’s Center, we have a rare glimpse of the mighty Gunnison River, knifing its way through the canyon.
The Gunnison River cuts through the rock at a rate of 1 inch per century. The Gunnison River has been carving this canyon for 2 million years. And it is still carving. The river has a very steep gradient with an average fall of 95 feet per mile. This gives the Gunnison River the energy needed to cut downward, deepening the canyon faster than any other kind of erosion can widen the canyon. The next pull off is named Cross Fissures.
We love looking at this canyon. We think these are all “Wow Views”. Next stop is Rock Point Lookout.
From here there were so many more Wow Views. Driving along the South Rim, we stopped at Devil’s Overlook.
We wanted you to know that there are fences at these lookout points to prevent humans and ducks from falling. Also there are many signs reminding us not to throw rocks into the canyon and river. There are hiking trails below and we would not want to injure, or scare, any hikers. This park is for adventure hiking and enjoying the magnificence of nature–not for getting hit with rocks. Next stop was at Chasm View. Here we are about 1,100 feet from the North Rim of the Black Canyon, but it is an 80 mile drive to get there.
Vehicles drive around the canyon and much of the entire area, ensuring the preservation of the area. So, here the canyon is 1,100 feet wide and 1,800 feet deep. The narrow slit in the earth, our canyon, does not receive much sunshine at the bottom. But it sure makes for Wow Views and Wow Moments. We love the effect. The next, and last stop we will show you is the Painted Wall.
The US National Park Service describes it a “a 2,250 foot sheer cliff decorated with stripes and flourishes of pink and white crystalline pegmatite, an extrusion of magma that seeped into cracks and hardened.” We love this. Mom now says that if she were young again, she would be a geologist. We think this stuff is fascinating. A couple years ago we visited the North Rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. That post with photos was published November 17, 2014, if you care to see more of this canyon. Seeing the Black Canyon of the Gunnison provides plenty of Wow Views.
You will love this National Park. Hopefully you will visit soon.