Drive the Scenic loop at Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park

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. 

Read More


Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Handicap Accessible


Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

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.

Stay Nearby

Montrose, Colorado

Black Canyon Of The Gunnison Np South Rim Campground

Overview A camping trip to the Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park makes for a beautiful getaway for sightseeing, stargazing, and hiking. The park protects the most dramatic section of the Gunni...

Delta, Colorado

Cottonwood Grove Campground

Situated among mature cottonwood trees along the Gunnison River, this campground has 6 campsites, including one ADA accessible site with an adjacent accessible fishing pier. Site amenities include ...

Gunnison, Colorado

Lake Fork Campground

Overview Lake Fork Campground is on the Blue Mesa Reservoir, near the reservoir's dam. It is a part of the historic Curecanti Recreation Area and is an ideal place to stay for days of boat recreati...

Nearby Adventures

  • Hike the Oak Flat Loop

    Black Canyon of the Gunnison is one of Colorado's four national parks. Though not as well known as Rocky Mountain or Mesa Verde, Black Canyon has no lack of views, hiking opportunities, and other must-experience natural features. The Canyon's exp...

    2 miles 377 ft gain

  • Hike to Tomichi Point and Gunnison Point Overlooks

    To access the South Rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, take US 50 and CO 347 to the south entrance, 15 miles east of Montrose. There is no bridge between the north and south rims of the canyon - make sure you enter from the Mon...

    2 miles

  • Camp at Black Canyon of the Gunnison's South Rim Campground

    The South Rim Campground is located about 6 miles inside Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. There are a total of 88 sites, 34 of which are available year-round. Reservations are definitely recommended, but are not required - loop C is fir...

  • Drive the East Portal Road

    Want an easier way to get to the bottom of the canyon without the rugged hiking trails? Drive to the bottom via the East Portal Road. Open once the harsh winter breaks, this road switchbacks its way to the bottom at the meeting place of Curecanti ...

  • Inspire Your Fall Aspen Trip!

    Autumn days in Aspen are filled with sunshine and nights with crisp cool air. Watch the mountains and valleys turn gold with the changing Aspen trees. Take in the scenery while enjoying scenic drives, hiking through forests, road biking, and exploring our IMBA Gold Level Ride Center recognized mountain bike trails. 

    Learn More