October 21, 1999
$15 per vehicle per week
5,440 feet at the Gunnison River
8,775 feet at Signal Hill
Lowest Average Temp
15°F in January
Record Low Temp
-27°F in 1905
Highest Average Temp
87°F in July
Record High Temp
106°F in 1947
Park Creation Timeline
On March 2, 1933, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Monument is created
On October 21, 1999, President Bill Clinton signs the bill elevating the monument to national park status
Animals and Plants
The mule deer is the most commonly seen large mammal here, as in virtually every area of the west. Its chief predator, the mountain lion, also lives here, though it is almost never seen. Other seldom seen large mammals include elk, black bears, bighorn sheep, and coyotes. Smaller mammals include ringtail, beaver, marmots, prairie dogs, porcupines, and chipmunks.
Lizards are abundant. Species include the greater short-horned, common sagebrush, and tree. Snakes are a little less common, but include gopher, milk, garter and whip snakes.
Bird life is probably Black Canyon's most noteable. The steep canyon walls provide a great varied habitat for them. Along with countless smaller species (well over 100) are the more recognized large raptors, including the golden eagle and peregrine falcon, famous for being the fastest bird known, with dives of over 200 miles per hour.
Plant life in varies significantly between the canyon rim and the river below. On the rim, pinyon pine and juniper woodlands are common as in much of the region. Seen along much of the road are Gambel Oak thickets, interspersed with wildflowers, grasses, serviceberry bushes, and other shrubs. Down in the canyon, the water of the Gunnison River creates a riparian landscape. Chokecherry, Boxelder and Narrowleaf Cottonwoods line the riverbank. Poison ivy is also extremely abundant within the canyon.