Black Canyon of the Gunnison - Western National Parks Association

Black Canyon of the Gunnison

National Park


Black Canyon of the Gunnison feels overwhelming, but still intimate. Experience some of the steepest cliffs, oldest rock, and craggiest spires in North America. In more than two million years, the Gunnison River, along with the forces of weathering, has sculpted this vertical wilderness of rock, water, and sky.

Discover More About Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in western Colorado was named for its dark cliffs and because parts of its steep gorge see less than an hour of sunlight a day. Ute Indians were the first to explore and make their homes in the Black Canyon area, but they only lived along the canyon’s rims, not within the inhospitable, steep gorge. The Painted Wall is the highest cliff in Colorado at 2,250 feet, taller than the Empire State Building. The Black Canyon is 48 miles long and 40 feet wide, but only 14 miles lie within the park.

Since our founding in 1938

WNPA has provided more than

$126 million

in aid to our partner parks to fund educational programs, initiatives, and scientific research

Kids in Parks

National parks are places where kids can dream up great adventures! Taking in amazing scenery. Testing out new skills. Exploring places kids may have only heard about. But most importantly, creating new memories with friends and family.

Our public lands are our public commons. They belong to all of us as part of our natural and cultural heritage. They remind us of a larger world that has existed long before the arrival of humans and will survive long after we are gone.

Terry Tempest Williams Author & Conservationist
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Bring the Parks Home

When you can’t get to a national park for a visit, experience it from the comfort of your home. WNPA’s online store is packed with ranger-approved park collectibles, books, toys, and clothing. Shop for a special item.