You could view the United States of America as one giant expanse of peaks and valleys, of towering summits and cavernous canyons. For most Americans, the word “canyon” brings to mind a particular example, the grandest of them all, sprawling and chiseled and painted with Mother Nature’s magnificent aura. But what if we told you not all canyons are bathed in colorful sunlight, that there are a select few famous instead for the lack of light that fills their pits? Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is one such place where darkness reigns supreme and true beauty is found in what cannot be seen. Come along as we dive into the depths of remarkable Black Canyon.
Exploring the shadows and steep faces of Black Canyon
With its near-vertical rock walls and seemingly bottomless chasms shrouded in shadow, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park should most certainly be considered one of Colorado’s most dramatic national parks. This magnificent, 14-mile-long stretch of steep canyons can be found in the west central region of the state, situated among 30,000 acres of rugged wilderness. It is home to breathtaking vistas and a thriving ecosystem, complete with copious animal life and the nourishing Gunnison River, which constantly gouges and reshapes the structure of Black Canyon.
To witness the mysteries that lie at the bottom of Black Canyon, visitors can opt for either the North or South Rim, both of which offer scenic overlooks and challenging hiking trails. Be sure to stop off at the Painted Wall, the canyon’s nearly 2,300 foot vertical face laced with pink and white streaks of various rock. And finally, don’t forget to stay after hours to gaze up at the secluded and undiluted skies above the Gunnison. Remember, while sunlight is sparse in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, there is beauty to be found in utter darkness!