Located just east of Montrose is the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, a 12 mile section of the one of the deepest canyons in North America.
The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park showcases a 12 mile section of the Gunnison River gorge. The Gunnison River drops an average of 34 feet per mile, the fifth steepest descent of a river in North America. The Gunnison Survey of 1853 provides the first governmental account of the canyon. By 1882 the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad conquered the canyon to Cimarron with the three foot narrow gauge line of rail. There is a railroad exhibit at Cimarron several miles east of the park on Highway 50. There are 3 entrances to the Park, both north and south rims. The total length of the Black Canyon is 53 miles, upstream is the Curecanti National Recreation Area, and downstream is the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area.
Location: 8 miles east of Montrose on Highway 50.
South Rim: open daily, with the South Rim Road being open from April to Mid November. During the winter the South Rim Road is open to Gunnison Point.
North Rim: the North Rim Road and ranger station are closed in the winter with the road closing from late November until mid-April.
Area: 48.05 Square Miles
South Rim Campground: The South Rim Campground is open year-round (Loop A only) with 88 campsites. There are electrical hookups available during the summer months on Loop B only. There are limited RV Services within the Park: no dump station, no showers, and vault toilets only. Elevation: 8,320 feet
North Rim Campground: seasonal camping on the North Rim from April to mid-November, 13 campsites, water available from late May to mid-September, no electrical hookups, no dump station, or showers, no flush toilets (vault toilets only).
Elevation: 7,783 feet
East Portal Campground: seasonal camping within the Curecanti National Recreation Area in the Black Canyon, 15 campsites, water is available only during the summer, no flush toilets (vault toilets) and no availability for RV’s (no vehicle in excess of 22 feet in total length, which includes a trailer, is allowed on the East Portal Road. The East Portal Road is steep at a 16% grade with sharp curves; the road is narrow.
Elevation: 6,526 feet.