Located only an hour away from Crested Butte, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is considered one of Western Colorado’s most unique treasures with incredible hiking, world-class climbing, great fishing and more! Drawing its name from the shadows that cast down to the canyon floor, Black Canyon spans 13 miles along Gunnison River, dropping over 2,000 feet from its rim before it reaches the water flowing below. It is geographically divided into the North and South rims, with the South Rim being the most developed and popular between the two (the South Rim is where the Park Visitor Center is located). The North Rim offers a more remote getaway spot if you want to avoid the crowds, as well as longer hikes such as the seven mile (roundtrip) hike to the top of Green Mountain. Campgrounds There are two main campgrounds located in Black Canyon, one on each rim. The North Rim Campground, which is closed during the winter, has 13 campsites. The South Rim Campground has 88 sites, including some with electrical hookups. All sites are $12 a night except for sites with hookups, which are $18 a night. Backcountry camping is also available. Hiking Trails There are a number of great hiking trails on both the North and South Rims, most of which explore the edge of Black Canyon and offer beautiful overlooks of the river and canyon bottom below. Two of the more popular hikes are the Oak Flat Loop and the North Vista Trail.
- The Oak Flat Loop (2 miles, starts at the South Rim Visitor Center) is a terrific trail for those interested who want to see what Black Canyon is like below the upper rim. From the Visitor Center, the trail winds its way around to a rocky overlook and drops down to the forest before returning to the canyon’s rim.
- The North Vista Trail (3-7 miles, starts at the North Rim Ranger Station) is a longer, more challenging trail (ranging from moderate to strenuous depending on where you turnaround) that climbs through pinyon and sage forest past numerous overlooks before reaching Exclamation Point. The trail continues from there to the top of Green Mountain, which has views of the Black Canyon, San Juans, and Uncompahgre.
Scenic Drives Another popular feature of Black Canyon is a lovely seven mile drive that winds along the South Rim and includes 12 breathtaking overlooks. The North Rim drive is less developed but the steeper walls also provide some amazing views deep into the canyon. Climbing The tall, vertical walls of Black Canyon provide some great places for multi-pitch rock climbing, though climbers should be aware that it is not an area for beginners. For information on specific routes, stop at one of the local gear shops or consult a climbing guide. Fees: 7-day pass – $15 per vehicle or $7 for hikes, bikes or motorcycles Annual pass – $30 Address: 102 Elk Creek Gunnison, CO 81230 Phone: 970-641-2337 With so much to do in Crested Butte you will not know where to start. Enjoy the outdoors with hiking, biking, golf, fishing, rafting and much more!! Crested Butte CO Real Estate offers a wide variety of properties including ski in/ski out single family homes, ski-in/ski-out condominiums, lake and river frontage properties, golf course property, and true luxury mountain homes on acreage. To see Crested Butte Homes For Sale, featured properties and search the MLS – visit chriskopf.com. Contact Crested Butte Realtor, Chris Kopf at: (970) 209-5405.