Black Canyon of the Gunnison

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Yes, we’re both wearing National Park Service centennial gear!  We thought we should suit up for one of our last parks.  Hokey, I know!  But – Happy 100th birthday, National Park Service!  We have loved celebrating your centennial this summer!

Black Canyon of the Gunnison was designated a National Park in 1999.  Prior to that (and the last time I visited) it was a National Monument.  A National Monument is typically  designated by the President.  Congress designates National Parks.

Black Canyon is unique in that it is very steep, very narrow and has sheer walls.  Little light penetrates the canyon, thus the moniker “Black Canyon”. We’ve seen several canyons on this trip and I appreciated the interpretive information Black Canyon provided in their unigrid brochure.   It pointed out the difference in types of canyons using the Black Canyon, Yosemite Canyon and the Grand Canyon as examples.  Grand Canyon – soft, river-carved rock sculpted by erosion.  Yosemite – hard, river-cut rock later gouged by glaciers.  Black Canyon – hard rock uplifted then cut through by fast moving water.

We visited the South Rim of the Black Canyon and drove the scenic road, stopping at multiple overlooks.  We also hiked the nature trail at Warner Point.  The payoff on that hike is that it ends at a 2,700+ feet drop-off into the canyon.

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