Colorado & Utah 2021: Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

And now for something completely different! Continuing our quest to squeeze in as many National Park visits as we could during our Thanksgiving trip out west, we jumped in the cars and headed to my brother’s closest legacy park – Black Canyon of the Gunnison.

I had never heard of Black Canyon of the Gunnison before a few years ago, when Jack and Colton visited (and hiked all the way down into the canyon!) on Rock the Park. It doesn’t seem to be an especially well-known park, and not over-popular with visitors (judging from the fact that the park was almost empty on the Sunday before Thanksgiving) and that’s a shame, because it’s gorgeous.

We took our time driving into the park, stopping at a few overlooks to take in the views. The canyon is almost a surprise – you drive over miles and miles of mostly flat farmland, and then BAM, there it is.

Eventually, we slowly made our way to the visitors’ center, where we collected Junior Ranger workbooks for the anklebiters and then headed off on a short rim hike. It ended up being a very short hike, with the combination of an icy trail and sheer drop-offs sending us scuttling back to the visitors’ center – but we got in the views and the flavor of the park, so I called it a success. The dogs got to join us on the hike, and Danielle pointed out different plants along the trail (she had everyone walking along rubbing sage and sniffing our fingers) and a good time was had by all.

Look at those canyon walls! Stunning.

Have you ever been to Black Canyon of the Gunnison? What’s your favorite hidden gem park?

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