During our recent trip to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in Colorado, we made this video for Winnebagolife’s blog:
While the video shows highlights of Black Canyon of the Gunnison park throughout, it’s really more about how the van functions during a 3-day boondocking trip. We checked in on the tank levels and battery status each day… so, if you’re curious how Parky performed OR about seeing the park, give it a look.
Our Experiences At Black Canyon of the Gunnison:
For my fellow parks trivia lovers: The “Black” in the park’s name comes from its near-perpetual state of darkness. Parts of the canyon floor only receive 33 minutes per day of direct sunlight at most.
This was our first time actually IN the park, but it’s not our first time seeing this magnificent canyon. We’ve bicycled Highway 92 before, which is a less-traveled road that meanders along the ridge of the canyon on its east side. With its incredible scenery of the canyon below and the fun twisty turny nature of the road itself, Highway 92 was one of the most breathtaking bike rides we’ve ever done.
There were some parts of the road with some pretty terrifying drop-offs; but as always, take that with a grain of salt and remember who’s writing this (me, a self-declared heights fearing chicken). The drop-offs didn’t phase James a bit.
That trip, we camped at the lovely Blue Mesa Reservoir, which was the perfect base camp for biking highway 92. Highly recommend this ride and camping destination!
THIS trip, however, there was no biking. In fact, biking isn’t allowed on any of the trails within Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. That’s okay though, it made things simpler.
We started our time at the park in the more popular south rim section. We did two short and intense hikes: Warner Point and Oak Flat.
We were only on each trail just short of an hour, but as challenging as they were it made them extra fun with lots of cardio-testing steep climbs and switchbacks that reward you with the most stunning views. The trails were a great way to see the dramatic depth of the sheer cliff walls, in places the walls dive more than 2,000 vertical feet almost straight down to the river below.
I had tried to reserve a campsite over a month in advance for two nights at the south rim campground, and could only get a site for the first night. We hoped to get a spot at the first-come first-served north rim campground on the second night, but no luck.
We were bummed, especially since it’s a two hour drive from south rim to north, but I’m still so glad we made the trek. Gang, the north rim is AMAZING!!! The scenic drive along the north rim is a real gem. The roads are gravel, there’s hardly anyone else around, and you pretty much can pull off right at the cliff’s edge!!!
So even though we didn’t get to camp on the north rim, we were enchanted by that whole area and grateful for the experience.
We left the north rim and drove 30 minutes to Crawford State Park with our fingers crossed… luckily we got the last site left. One look at our spot and suddenly we weren’t feeling so bummed about no Black Canyon sites.
Plus we scored showers!!! (The things that make RVers happy, lol…)
After our night at Crawford, we headed to Paonia to bust out the mountain bikes on their lovely trail system. While I mostly took my bike for a walk (as always), I didn’t mind one bit:
So! Another incredible national park experience and adventures beyond: CHECK!!! I will say this; when visiting these parks I’m so thankful we’re rolling in a compact coach! Oftentimes there’s very little parking and since we can fit into any regular parking spot, we’ve been parking problem-free.
Happy RVing, all! Go give your parks some love!