Explore the most popular wildlife trails in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

What a hike! My husband and I did this hike in late May. It was perfect weather for hiking. The ranger who issued our wilderness permit made the route sound much more difficult than it really was. Most of the hike was through loose talus and scree and made for some unsure footing at times. The view at the bottom makes the hike worth it. We loved the 80 foot chain. Fun dayhike!

hiking
6 days ago

good hike; a bit more exposed to the sun (and hotter in the pm) than the Gunnison Route. Also less scree/talus than Gunnison, but more loose dirt and packed dirt covered with small/medium sized pebbles that can sit you down in a hurry. as of 5/16/18, all snow/ice is long gone and the walk is quite dry. roughly 1:45 down and the same time back up. the bottom has some great sunning/relaxation spots, so plan to spend some time down there before slogging back up. you can filter nice cold water straight from the river for a great refresher.

hiking
6 days ago

great dayhike; definitely sketchy footing in some areas with plenty of scree and talus fields. combined with the poor footing, the grade is steep enough to provide good entertainment even for fit people.

Best approach is to take the right fork if you are coming from the visitor center and come up from the western side of the trail.

Some nice views of the canyon from the trail but they are easy to replicate from Rock Rim Road if you are not up for the hike. But this hike is a good hike if you want to explore below the rim without committing to a full descent into the canyon.

My GF and I hiked this trail a few days ago and really enjoyed the experience. The views from various points along the trail were stunning. From the summit of Green Mountain you can see so much of the surrounding area. A quick note: if you take the detour for Exclamation Point (which we highly recommend) it ends up being a little bit over 7 miles round trip. Also, by way of advance notice, you'll need to take along $20 for the entry permit. While you're there, don't pass up the short .25 mile Chasm View, which provides a safe way to view straight down into the Black Canyon and the Gunnison river below.

My husband said it was one of his favorite hikes ever. The route down was difficult because it was pretty steep. Also, we had to stop a few times to turn around and video record directions for the correct route to take back up. There is no real trail and there appeared to be many different possible “paths” to take you back up. Having the videos to refer to helped a lot on the way back because even though we thought we had the route memorized, everything looks so similar that we did question some possible paths. But the view at the bottom is spectacular. We brought a nice lunch to enjoy at the bottom. The climb up was painful. We did this hike early spring and though we’re young (25 years old) we hadn’t worked out all winter but made it up just fine.

hiking
1 month ago

Did this hike in mid-April when snow was starting to melt considerably. The path was not icy, but we did not get to the bottom!

Beautiful views at the start, and the pathways were largely snow free (although muddy). As you turn for the 'final' descent downwards it gets considerably trickier. As someone with eyes bigger than my stomach, I was up for it, my partner who isn't a fan of slope-scrambles didn't want to go any further.

This is a hike where you have to be confident about slip sliding down some pretty rocky path whilst knowing you're coming back up there a few hours later!

It is an amazing, easy to follow hike and the river (which we visited in another spot later) would be well worth the trip. But it is difficult, tiring, and the view as you descend further starts to disappear behind trees, so you have to be committed.

Saw some very large tracks - maybe elk. Also saw a very stupid wild turkey pottering about at the top.

As everyone else says, go to the visitor centre, get advice from a ranger and remember you cannot do this without a wilderness permit.

Best view on the south rim!

Great, short hike! Extremely windy at the top.

Beautiful views for a nice short hike. One of the best views on the south rim!

hiking
1 month ago

“Hiked” this in late March while there was still snow on the ground. The route was very icy until about 2/3rd of the way to the river. The rest was scree field. Very steep, dangerous hike but absolutely worth the challenge. With ice on the ground, it took much longer to complete (5+ hours round trip). Could not have completed the hike without crampons. An ice axe was also an invaluable tool for most of the hike. Easily the most treacherous hike I’ve ever done.

hiking
1 month ago

Easy. and quick hike. Great views!

hiking
1 month ago

Nice small hike. Nice views.

Beautiful views!! Went in March and it was very snowy. But if you stop at the visitor center you can rent yaktrax for free. They helped immensely! The trail does have a few steep inclines that posed a fun challenge with the snow - again have some sort of boot/shoe grip if in winter months. Couldn’t stop smiling during my hike. I will be coming back for sure.

hiking
2 months ago

The trail was covered in snow, and we didn’t have the right gear so we couldn’t do the whole loop, but the first half mile was very pretty. Beautiful in the winter!

Beautiful sunset lights up the West Elk Mountains pink. Then I saw a huge full moon rise up from behind the peaks. Stunning. Definitely recommended for sunset!

Intense and steep hike, would not recommend when snow is present due to slipping risks. Beautiful views of the Gunnison river at the bottom, followed by a challenging climb back up. Trail is unmarked for the most part (a few cairns here or there), so take note of your route back when descending. Took about 3.5 hours in snow round trip, but definitely worth it - do a trip on the Rim Drive after, and look down to really put the feat in perspective!

hiking
6 months ago

This was probably one of the hardest hike I've ever attempted (simply because of the elevation - about 8000ft at the top, and I'm not acclimatized yet), and while the views at the bottom were nice, I would say that the "reward" wasn't worth the intense effort. Maybe if it was during the summer, and you spent more time at the bottom in the water, etc...
I was able to get from the South Rim Visitor Center down to the bottom in 35 minutes, and it took me 50mins to get back up, but I was by myself and was going quickly. Shaded by trees most of the way down, so there weren't too many occasions to enjoy the view.

Trail in good condition. Starts at visitor center. This a loop trail. The right hand entrance at the star of trail is a steeper descent than the left side which uses switchbacks to go down. Trail slippery when wet.

Another short and easy overlook trail. This spot also has a very nice view of the Painted Wall. And of the several lookouts that I visited, this one had the best unobstructed view of the Gunnison River running through the canyon far below.

A short and easy overlook trail that has a spectacular view of the Painted Wall on the north side of the canyon. It is the tallest sheer cliff in Colorado at 2,250 feet. My July vacation schedule didn’t allow for it, but this vantage point is probably best for viewing and taking pictures earlier in the day...before the likely afternoon glare.

hiking
6 months ago

Loved it! The feat of reaching the river and looking up is worth any questioning or fear on the way down. Just remember which route you took down as there is no trail per se or markers.

easy and breath taking

beautiful easy hike with amazing views!

Nice short hike.

Very nice trail with an absolutely stunning view over the canyon from the green mountain vista point. The was almost no one else on the trail...very quiet.

Could have sat and grooved all day at the trail's end

This is the best viewpoint in the park! Beautiful! :-)

hiking
8 months ago

Short walk. Great views.

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