Black Canyon of The Gunnison National Park is “big enough to be overwhelming, still intimate enough to feel the pulse of time.” One of the least visited National Parks, which means if you venture below the rim, share your experience with a reverent few. Hard to reach, steep, rocky, poison ivy, unmarked trails reward the adventurer, climber, fly fisherman.
Exploring The Black Canyon
Length: One to three days
Description: From the top, the Black Canyon is impressive, and her dizzyingly steep canyon walls are best witnessed from below where direct sun reaches only a few hours daily. We packed in our fly rods to experience the legendary Salmon Fly hatch and gorging trout. We opted for the The North Rim accessed by a dirt road climbing out of Crawford, CO. What became evident was how the preservation of this ancient place is aided by its no frills amenities. Void of a big lodge, plentiful rim hugging campsites, and gnarly descents, the Black Canyon is wilderness at it’s best.
Route description down the S.O.B draw
“There are no maintained or marked trails into the inner canyon. Instead, there are “wilderness routes,” or unmarked scrambles to the river. Only individuals in excellent physical condition should attempt these routes; they are not meant for small children.
Hikers are expected to find their own way and be prepared for self-rescue. While descending, study the route behind, as this will make it easier to wayfind when confronted with a choice of routes and drainages on the way back up. The routes are the easiest, and sometimes only, path to the river.
Poison ivy is nearly impossible to avoid, and can be found growing 5 feet tall along the river.”
The rewards: Hungry trout, solitude, and timeless beauty.
Season: Spring, Fall