Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, CO

On our way to Denver we stopped to visit the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. The black canyon is a narrow steep canyon carved out by the Gunnison River. In at least one place the canyon is deeper than it is wide and almost twice the height of the empire state building.

Day 95 – 96
November 5 – November 6, 2014
Miles 10992 – 11160

We entered The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park from the south and drove along the south rim. Being the winter season, the entrance fees were waived and cars can just drive in. The Tomichi Point overlook is before the visitor’s center so we stopped for our first view of the canyon.

In the visitor’s center we asked about hiking only to find that there isn’t very much in the park. If you park at each overlook on the south rim and walk to the overlook and back, it would be 2.5 miles of walking. There are a few ‘scrambling routes’ you can take down to the canyon floor, but the one mile hike descends 1800 feet. Instead we drove to the overlooks our guidebook recommended. At the end of the south rim drive is a 1.5 mile hike to Warner Point, which we did. During the hike, you can see both the canyon and the valley outside of the park. After the hike, we ate lunch at one of the picnic spots in the park and drove on to Grand Junction, Colorado.

For dinner we drove to the Palisade Brewing Company (which our previous hoteliers had recommended). On the drive there, we read online that their hours were until 8pm, which made us nervous because it was almost 8, but we went on anyway. Its a good thing that we did because they stay open until ‘close’ and still had quite a few people hanging out when we arrived. We had an order of their Smokey Bones (smokey chicken wings) and split a BBQ pork sandwich. The wings were definitely smokey and unique. I didn’t care for them, but can see how someone who likes a smokey flavor would love them. What we liked the most about the brewery was their Dirty Hippie, a dark wheat beer.

On Thursday we checked out of the hotel late and then drove through the Colorado National Monument. National Monuments are similar to National Parks but haven’t obtained that higher park status yet. The Colorado National Monument was a high mesa with canyon overlooks and a 23 mile road through the length of it. We stopped at several overlooks and did one short hike while there.

We reached Denver around 7pm and joined our friends for dinner.

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