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Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

Description of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Location: Montrose County, CO  Map

Area: 30,244 acres

Activities: kayaking, camping, boating

 

The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park ("Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park") is a national park of the United States located in the western part of the state of Colorado. It consists of a narrow and deep gorge belonging to the Gunnison River, having been established in 1933 and occupying an area of 83 km2. The park includes 19 km of 77 km of Gunnison River Canyon. Black canyon takes its name from its walls stained and full of lichen, which accentuate the darkness of the abyss. It was previously protected since 1933 as a Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Monument.

 

The Black Canyon is a deep gorge through which the Gunnison River flows. It is so narrow that very little sunlight falls to the bottom, making the walls look dark to black, giving the canyon its name. At the Chasm Overlook lookout point it reaches a depth of 555 meters at only 345 meters between the edges of the gorge. In the Canyon, the Gunnison River has an average gradient of 18 meters per kilometer. In the 3.2-kilometer section between "Pulpit Rock" and "Chasm View", however, the gradient is 50 meters per kilometer. From the rim of the canyon, you can hear the roar of the Gunnison river as it rushes through the gorge. The river digs in for about three centimeters per hundred years.

The Black Canyon of the Gunnison Canyon, visible today, dates back to the last two million years when the Gunnison River dug through a Jurassic sandstone stratum and hit the surface of a block of some 2 billion years of Precambrian rock. It consists of gneiss pegmatite passages showing a pronounced planar directional structure (foliation). The resistance of the rock, which is under tremendous pressure over geologically long periods of time, explains the almost exclusively vertical erosion.

 

 

 

Fees and permits

The entrance fee for a single visit to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is $15. It covers all persons in a single, private, non-commercial vehicle and is valid for seven calendar days. The entry fee for pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcycles, motor scooters, or mopeds is $7 per person. There is no fee charged for persons 16 years of age or younger. You can also buy a Black Canyon Annual Pass for $30, which is valid for 12 months. Also, a free permit is required for all backcountry and wilderness use, both day use and overnight.

There are several passes for groups traveling together in a private vehicle or individuals on foot or on bike. These passes provide free entry at national parks and national wildlife refuges, and also cover standard amenity fees at national forests and grasslands, and at lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation. These passes are valid at all national parks including Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park:

The $80 Annual Pass (valid for twelve months from date of issue) can be purchased by anyone. Military personnel can obtain a free annual pass in person at a federal recreation site by showing a Common Access Card (CAC) or Military ID.
U.S. citizens or permanent residents age 62 or over can obtain a Senior Pass (valid for the life of the holder) in person at a federal recreation site for $80, or through the mail for $90; applicants must provide documentation of citizenship and age. This pass also provides a fifty percent discount on some park amenities. Seniors can also obtain a $20 annual pass.
U.S. citizens or permanent residents with permanent disabilities can obtain an Access Pass (valid for the life of the holder) in person at a federal recreation site at no charge, or through the mail for $10; applicants must provide documentation of citizenship and permanent disability. This pass also provides a fifty percent discount on some park amenities.
Individuals who have volunteered 250 or more hours with federal agencies that participate in the Interagency Pass Program can receive a free Volunteer Pass.
4th graders can receive an Annual 4th Grade Pass that allows free entry for the duration of the 4th grade school year (September-August) to the bearer and any accompanying passengers in a private non-commercial vehicle. Registration at the Every Kid in a Park website is required.
In 2018 the National Park Service will offer four days on which entry is free for all national parks: January 15 (Martin Luther King Jr. Day), April 21 (1st Day of NPS Week), September 22 (National Public Lands Day), and November 11 (Veterans Day weekend).

 

 

 

 

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