Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

  US National Parks

VISIT Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park:

The Black Canyon National Park was carved by the Gunnison River, which first chewed through soft volcanic rock before hitting the harder metamorphic rock below. Over the next million years, the river carved a channel with walls that now reach over 2,700 feet high.

This park is amazingly in the lower third of most visited parks. It is within a perfect distance to other parks nearby, but it somehow does not get the love it deserves.

Places to Stay When Visiting

There is no lodging inside the park other than a few campgrounds (below). Outside the park, there are a couple neighboring towns that have Airbnb/VRBO options.

  • Montrose, CO (15 miles away)
  • Cimarron, CO (19 miles)
  • Vernal, CO (21 miles)
  • Olathe, CO (25 miles)
  • Delta, CO (36 miles)

Park Details

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park was established on March 2, 1933, and has a total area of 30,750 acres (48 square miles, or 124 square kilometers).

Address South Rim Visitor Center, Montrose, CO, 81401
Phone970 641-2337
HoursOpen every day. The South Rim Drive is usually open to vehicles from late-April to mid-November
Entrance Fee$30 per vehicle, valid for 7 days
Learn MoreOfficial Website

When to Visit: Weather vs. Peak Visitation

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is the 146th most visited park in the country.

We crunched 30 years of historical weather and/or park service data to find the best months to visit Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. We looked for the optimal temperatures, the least amount of snow and rain, and stayed away from peak visitation months if we could help it. All this data then helped us paint a picture as to what the absolute best time to visit Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is.

Our data shows the best months to visit Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park are August, September, October & July.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Park Visits8,7597,2877,23614,15934,72947,41154,39247,10444,88422,75712,3567,836
Precipitation39373632188101318233238
Avg Temp343745556778838173614635
Max Temp434758697987898682736248
Avg Temp172025303539474739312419
Min Temp-129192328363726197-2
Temperature values in °F; Precipitation in Inches

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park Road Trips

Many family vacations consist of stringing one or more national parks together during a week-long trip. Creating these types of trips is our specialty! Here are the road trips we've created where Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is visited.

Trip NameTrip MilesTrip Days
Continental Divide National Historic Trail RV Road Trip2,31514
Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde, Black Canyon to Rocky Mountains1,00512
Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Arches, Black Canyon to Rockies1,08612
Rocky Mountains, Black Canyon of the Gunnison to Great Sand Dunes7917

Other Nearby National Park Sites

From national monuments, to historic sites to seashores and more, here are the other parks closest to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

NameDistance
Curecanti National Recreation Area22 mi
Colorado National Monument62 mi
White River National Forest77 mi
Arches National Park100 mi
Mesa Verde National Park104 mi
Yucca House National Monument105 mi
Hovenweep National Monument110 mi
Canyonlands National Park114 mi
Aztec Ruins National Monument120 mi
Great Sand Dunes National Park133 mi

Nearby Campsites & RV Parks

If you are looking to pitch a tent or park an RV at a campsite near Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, here is a list of the closest campsites in the surrounding area. They all have slightly different amenitites, so its best to check them all out instead of just chosing the first on the list.

NameDetailsMiles Away
North Rim - Gunnison National ParkMontrose, CO more 1 miles
South Rim - Gunnison National ParkMontrose, CO more 2 miles
East Portal - Curecanti National Rec AreaGunnison, CO more 5 miles
Crawford State ParkCrawford, CO more 11 miles
Cimarron - Curecanti National Rec AreaCimarron, CO more 12 miles
Soap CreekSapeniro, CO more 22 miles
Ponderosa - Curecanti AreaSapinero, CO more 23 miles
Lake Fork - Curecanti AreaGunnison, CO more 23 miles
Big CimarronCimarron, CO more 23 miles
Beaver LakeCimarron, CO more 24 miles

Nearest Ski Resorts

For those of you who are the diehard outdoors type, visiting a national park on a ski trip can be quite the adventure. Here are the ski resorts within 100 miles of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park:

NameLocationSummitDifficulty ScoreDistance
Powderhorn Ski ResortPowderhorn, CO9,850 ft58%39 mi
TellurideTelluride, CO13,320 ft89%44 mi
Crested ButteCrested Butte, CO12,162 ft74%44 mi
SilvertonSilverton, CO13,847 ft100%52 mi
Kendall Mountain Ski AreaSilverton, CO9,596 ft19%52 mi
Aspen SnowmassSnowmass Village, CO12,510 ft86%59 mi
SunlightGlenwood Springs, CO9,895 ft51%61 mi
Aspen Highlands Ski ResortAspen, CO11,675 ft93%63 mi
Aspen Mountain Ski ResortAspen, CO11,212 ft79%65 mi
MonarchSalida, CO11,952 ft51%75 mi
PurgatoryDurango, CO10,822 ft51%77 mi
Chapman Hill Ski AreaDurango, CO6,555 ft49%89 mi
Hesperus Ski AreaHesperus, CO8,888 ft47%89 mi
Wolf CreekPagosa Springs, CO11,904 ft50%91 mi
Ski CooperLeadville, CO11,700 ft42%94 mi
Beaver CreekBeaver Creek, CO11,440 ft62%96 mi

Nearest Airports

When visiting a National park, many people are faced with either a very long drive across country, or a much shorter flight. For those of you looking to fly into Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, we've listed the closest airports in the area.

Large Airports

A large airport has scheduled major airline service with millions of passengers per year. This type of airport always accepts international flights. Here are the closest large airports to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

NameCodeCityDistance
Denver International AirportDENDenver, CO186 mi
Salt Lake City International AirportSLCSalt Lake City, UT273 mi
Phoenix Sky Harbor International AirportPHXPhoenix, AZ428 mi
Harry Reid International AirportLASLas Vegas, NV443 mi
Lake Havasu City International AirportLHSLake Havasu City, AZ460 mi
Medium Airports

A medium-sized airport has scheduled regional airline service. This type of airport may or may not accept international flights. Here are the closest medium-sized airports to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

NameCodeCityDistance
Grand Junction Regional AirportGJTGrand Junction, CO58 mi
Aspen-Pitkin Co/Sardy FieldASEAspen, CO64 mi
Eagle County Regional AirportEGEEagle, CO86 mi
San Luis Valley Regional Airport/Bergman FieldALSAlamosa, CO127 mi
City of Colorado Springs Municipal AirportCOSColorado Springs, CO163 mi
Pueblo Memorial AirportPUBPueblo, CO175 mi
Laramie Regional AirportLARLaramie, WY218 mi

Credits: Campground data provided by USCampgrounds.info. Map shapes from CartographyVectors. Weather data from NOAA. Airport data from OurAirports.com. Images from Unsplash, Flickr and Parks&Trips. All data has also been updated and augmented by Parks&Trips.