Drive the Scenic loop at Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park

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Added by Jared Beeler

Drive the Beautiful South Side Scenic Loop.

The Black Canyon of Gunnison is know for 2000 foot cliffs and a beautiful raging river below. The south side of the canyon is the most popular and the easiest to get to. The visitor center is also on the south side making it convenient for information and getting souvenirs. The scenic drive also has 12 easy to get to overlooks. The overlooks vary in length of walking but are mostly all on flat ground making it easy for anyone to get too and safe for kids to be there. Because of the very large cliffs there are not a lot of hiking trails in the park so the scenic drive is the best way to see the most of the canyon. The scenic drive is 7 miles in total making it not too long for a quick time frame and long enough to take most of the day. The deep contrasting colors of the canyon walls make for beautiful pictures especially during sunset. 

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Fitness
Chillin
Photography
Hiking
Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Groups
Handicap Accessible
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

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Head to Black Canyon for a quieter national park

As an author of children's books about the national parks, I am constantly exploring and had already been to Black Canyon, but I was curious how it was operating during the first summer of Covid. It was QUIET!! It was also pretty warm so it seems this park would be amazing in September! The entrance was free that day (although I have my pass), but the campgrounds were open and the visitors center was closed. Since I had already done the drive, I only drove to the visitors center and hiked down to the overlook (and no one else was there!). It was a magical feeling to be looking into the canyon and be free of social media, news and masks. It was only a few moments but it was so breathtaking I wish I could have stayed longer but I had a destination to reach before night. I highly recommend visiting and camping at Black Canyon to avoid more crowded national parks. I plan to head back to do more hiking and exploring!

Great drive on our way to the San Juan Mountains

This national park may be new, but it is mighty. The paved drive for several miles takes you to several trails and overlooks. It is easy and provides amazing views of Black Canyon of the Gunnison.

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4.5/5

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Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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