The Rockies: The Black Canyon of the Gunnison


The next day T had to work, so he stayed in the RV while the kids and I went along the rim trail that ran from just outside the campground to the visitors center. The walk was about one mile along the rim of the canyon, but it took us an hour and a half, because there was so much beauty to take in, and so much breath to catch, since we weren’t used to the altitude. Here are some of the many, many pictures I took during that walk.

Toward the evening, when T was done working for the day, we drove around the rim beyond the visitors center and stopped at different points. The sun was low, so the shadows were creeping up the canyon walls, but it was still amazing.

The last overlook of the evening was the sunset point, and it was wonderful!

The parts of the canyon wall that have these beautiful pink streaks are called Painted Wall. We were too late in the evening to take good pictures of the painted wall, because the shadows were too high, so we drove to an outlook again in the morning, before leaving to drive to Rocky Mountain National Park. The pink streaks are caused by molten rock being pressured into cracks in the darker metamorphic rock.

No, this is not another close-up of a rock at my feet. The little green specks in the bottom right corner are bushes clinging to the canyon wall.

Photos never do depth complete justice. The Black Canyon is 2300 feet deep. As all the signs like to point out: if you were to place the Empire State Building in the Gunnison River, the top would come to only just over halfway the canyon. It’s the highest rock wall in Colorado.

The canyon is a much smaller scale than the Grand Canyon, but not any less magnificent. You can just get a tiny bit closer to wrapping your mind around it than you can with the Grand Canyon.

The next post will be about Rocky Mountain National Park.

2 responses to “The Rockies: The Black Canyon of the Gunnison

  1. Great photos and narrative! I love the painted wall with the tiny, tiny bushes. I’m glad you went back in the morning.

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