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1 miles

Elevation Gain

1800 ft

Route Type



Added by Alex Thompson

Hike from the top of Black Canyon down 1800 vertical feet to the Gunnison River.

This is an unofficial NPS trail (or really a scramble) that starts from the top of the North Rim of Black Canyon and makes its way to the river at the bottom of the canyon. The trail is 2 miles round trip (out-and-back) and covers 1800 vertical feet each way. Budget plenty of time for the way up. 

First, register yourself for a free permit at the North Rim ranger station. For the hike, park at the Balanced Rock View and walk northeast along the road 0.5 miles to the start of the inset canyon. There is a small sign that marks the beginning of the trail. The footing is often very steep and on very loose rocks. Do not attempt unless you have scrambling experience. Some parts of the trail require vertical climbs of 4-6 feet and have large, loose boulders. Be especially careful when hiking with others that you do not pull a rock loose right above your hiking partner. The NPS also cautions hikers about poison ivy, but I did not see any during my hike. Save time to "play" at the bottom of the canyon! The isolation and beauty of the Gunnison River at the bottom is amazing!

NPS link

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