Thursday we drove 50 miles west of our campground to the Black Canyon National Park. It’s located west of Gunnison about 70 miles and east of Montrose about 20 miles just off Hwy. 50.
We drove the truck instead of the scooter because the wind has been getting up in the afternoons and we didn’t want to have to fight that all the way back. It’s a good thing we did because after driving the rim road we were able to go down the River Access Road all the way to the bottom and it was mostly 16% grade and I’m not sure the scooter would have handled that.
Miss Carol and I both had the same opinion that Black Canyon is just as spectacular as the Grand Canyon on the first view of it. Just not on a “Grand” scale. Get it? Grand (Grand Canyon). Ha Ha. Black Canyon is not quite as deep and definitely not as wide as the Grand Canyon. But its narrow sheer cliff walls in excess of 2000’ makes it very impressive.
Upon arrival we stopped at the Visitor Center and watered and walked the dogs before exploring the area. We looked at all the souvenir tourist trap stuff then proceeded on out the back door to an observation deck. WOW!!! what a first impression it has on you.
Visitors Center from observation deck.
Observation deck from Visitors Center
Don’t be deceived by this picture!!! It’s over 2000’ from the tops of these cliffs to the river below. That is the Gunnison River and it’s larger than it appears and it’s white rapids all the way through.
The Painted Wall is the highest cliff in Colorado. From river to rim it stands 2250 feet (685 meters), and is 1000 feet (304 meters) taller than the Empire State Building.
This is a shot of the Painted Wall from the top. The veins of coloration you see are called “Fissures”. They were originally cracks in the rock over 2 billion years ago and molten lava seeped upward through the cracks filling in between the rocks forming this appearance.
Just about every turn of the Rim Road were views similar to this. If you’ve never been to Black Canyon of the Gunnison Nat. Park, you need to. It’s an awesome experience.
After exploring all along the Rim Road and experiencing all the scenic pull-outs we headed down the River Access Road to the bottom.
The River Access Road was a series of switchback turns and 16% grade going down and back up. That tiny spec on the road in the center of the pic is an full-size SUV just to put things into perspective.
This is the view from the Canyon Floor (river) looking back up the top of the canyon.
Just For Grins !!!
I just had to put in this next picture just for the fun of it. When we got up this morning and walked outside we had new neighbors. When we first saw this, we thought we’d been magically transported back into the 70’s. What a COOL set up. Vintage Airstream trailer & Chrysler Town & Country Station Wagon.