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)
VISIT Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park:
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|
|Hours||Open 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 More||Official Website|
When to Visit: Weather vs. Peak Visitation
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is the 156th 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.
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.
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.
|Curecanti National Recreation Area||22 mi|
|Colorado National Monument||62 mi|
|White River National Forest||77 mi|
|Arches National Park||100 mi|
|Mesa Verde National Park||104 mi|
|Yucca House National Monument||105 mi|
|Hovenweep National Monument||110 mi|
|Canyonlands National Park||114 mi|
|Aztec Ruins National Monument||120 mi|
|Great Sand Dunes National Park||133 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.
|North Rim - Gunnison National Park||Montrose, CO more||1 miles|
|South Rim - Gunnison National Park||Montrose, CO more||2 miles|
|East Portal - Curecanti National Rec Area||Gunnison, CO more||5 miles|
|Crawford State Park||Crawford, CO more||11 miles|
|Cimarron - Curecanti National Rec Area||Cimarron, CO more||12 miles|
|Soap Creek||Sapeniro, CO more||22 miles|
|Ponderosa - Curecanti Area||Sapinero, CO more||23 miles|
|Lake Fork - Curecanti Area||Gunnison, CO more||23 miles|
|Big Cimarron||Cimarron, CO more||23 miles|
|Beaver Lake||Cimarron, 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:
|Lee's Ski Hill||Ouray, CO||0 ft||0%||38 mi|
|Powderhorn Ski Resort||Powderhorn, CO||9,850 ft||60%||39 mi|
|Telluride||Telluride, CO||13,150 ft||90%||44 mi|
|Lake City Ski Hill||Lake City, CO||8,847 ft||0%||44 mi|
|Cranor Hill Ski Area||Gunnison, CO||7,000 ft||0%||44 mi|
|Crested Butte||Crested Butte, CO||12,162 ft||77%||44 mi|
|Silverton||Silverton, CO||13,487 ft||100%||52 mi|
|Kendall Mountain Ski Area||Silverton, CO||9,596 ft||20%||52 mi|
|Aspen Ski Resorts||Snowmass Village, CO||12,510 ft||70%||59 mi|
|Aspen Snowmass||Snowmass Village, CO||12,510 ft||68%||59 mi|
|Sunlight Mountain||Glenwood Springs, CO||9,895 ft||66%||61 mi|
|Aspen Highlands Ski Resort||Aspen, CO||11,675 ft||78%||63 mi|
|Aspen Mountain Ski Resort||Aspen, CO||11,212 ft||82%||65 mi|
|Monarch||Salida, CO||11,952 ft||53%||75 mi|
|Purgatory||Durango, CO||10,822 ft||53%||77 mi|
|Chapman Hill Ski Area||Durango, CO||6,555 ft||51%||89 mi|
|Hesperus Ski Area||Hesperus, CO||8,888 ft||49%||89 mi|
|Wolf Creek||Pagosa Springs, CO||11,904 ft||52%||91 mi|
|Ski Cooper||Leadville, CO||11,700 ft||56%||94 mi|
|Beaver Creek||Beaver Creek, CO||11,440 ft||64%||96 mi|
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.
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.
|Denver International Airport||DEN||Denver, CO||186 mi|
|Salt Lake City International Airport||SLC||Salt Lake City, UT||273 mi|
|Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport||PHX||Phoenix, AZ||428 mi|
|Harry Reid International Airport||LAS||Las Vegas, NV||443 mi|
|Lake Havasu City International Airport||LHS||Lake Havasu City, AZ||460 mi|
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.
|Grand Junction Regional Airport||GJT||Grand Junction, CO||58 mi|
|Aspen-Pitkin Co/Sardy Field||ASE||Aspen, CO||64 mi|
|Eagle County Regional Airport||EGE||Eagle, CO||86 mi|
|Durango-La Plata County Airport||DRO||Durango, CO||98 mi|
|San Luis Valley Regional Airport/Bergman Field||ALS||Alamosa, CO||127 mi|
|City of Colorado Springs Municipal Airport||COS||Colorado Springs, CO||163 mi|
|Pueblo Memorial Airport||PUB||Pueblo, CO||175 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.