Sunday, August 8, 2010

Black Canyon National Park

We went West today to the Black Canyon National Park.  It is about 30 miles from here by the town of Montrose.  The Gunnison River goes thru several Dams and make the reservoirs that we are camped on, and then becomes the Black Canyon.


This is from the viewing stand behind the visitor’s center.  You walk out onto the top of one of the spires that is away from the main wall.  It is fenced all the way, but still creates a bit of vertigo as you go out.  I stood there a while getting used to the idea.

Looking back at the visitors center, you can see we are a ways away from the wall.  Loyce is watching me.


In the other direction, it is still straight down.  We drove a ways pulling out to take various pictures, and it was quite overcast so the colors are not stunning.

Finally we came to a overlook called the painted wall.  I spent some time here trying to get a good shot.

And zooming in on the Gunnison River below.


We drove around to the high point of the park and looked out over the valley below, where the river heads Northwest to join the Colorado at Grand Junction. And then back to the Visitor’s Center.  A ranger suggested that we take the East Portal Road to the bottom of the canyon.  He warned that it had 16 % grades on the rock wall road. 

We brought Loyce’s Ford Escape four wheel drive for just this opportunity, so off we went.  Even in first gear, the vehicle wanted to race away from the brakes if you let it go.  Brake on, brake off, brake on, well you get the idea.

About half way down I pulled out in a level spot and let the brakes cool down until I could touch the calipers.

We came from there, and we are going down here.


Yes that’s the road way down there in the little break on the left.  But eventually we reached the river.

Folks were fishing in the fast moving cold water.   We made our way to the end of the road and found the dam  for the next section of the river.  It was blocked off so you couldn’t see any more than this, perhaps since 911 security has been enacted.  I shot this by sticking the camera thru the fence.


Crystal Dam reader board.


We came back and sat to eat our lunch overlooking the water.


It was overcast and rainy for most of the afternoon, but Black Canyon is still a must see, if you are ever in the Western side of Colorado.

Retired Rod


  1. This is truly one of the great places in this country to see.

  2. I can't believe how beautiful it is. I got a bit of vertigo just looking at some of the pictures - can't imagine being the one doing the driving down that road. How can you keep from looking at the scenery?

  3. Love those kinds of road challenges. So nice to experience something other than the usual flat & boring driving. Looks like a great area. Just wish we could get away earlier in the season to head out that way before descending further south. Looks like you & your camera are doing a fine job.

  4. Glad to see the old Ecsape was up to the task, I know from changing them on ours the brakes are a little skimpy and small. Glad to see those great pictures. Be safe out there. Sam & Donna.

  5. Great pictures! We were there just about this time last year. Loved the area! JoAnn

  6. Terrific pictures Rod - crystal clear! Quite the drive down that road.

    Thanks too for the note on Autostitch, I'll be downloading that and giving it a try soon.


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