Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park Locator Map

Fast Facts

Total Area
30,385 acres
Annual Visitation
192,570 in 2012 (view all years)
Creation Date
October 21, 1999
Entrance Fee
$15 per vehicle per week
Time Zone
Lowest Elevation
5,440 feet at the Gunnison River
Highest Elevation
8,775 feet at Signal Hill
Lowest Average Temp
15F in January
Record Low Temp
-27F in 1905
Highest Average Temp
87F in July
Record High Temp
106F in 1947
Our Last Visit
June 2007

Park Contact Information

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
102 Elk Creek, Gunnison, CO 81230
Info at (970) 641-2337
Fax to (970) 641-3127

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.

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