Black Canyon of the Gunnison

November 18, 2018

NP 5/62

Written by: Kayla

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AZ to MI

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Montrose, CO

In Michigan it can snow 6 out of the 12 months in the year. Having lived there for most, or all, of our lives, we are pretty well adapted to the snow. However,  typically when we head to a new adventure, we like to dodge the snow. Avoiding the cold and snow makes for an easier packing job, less risk while driving and typically more activities available. During our road-trip where we moved Colin back to Michigan, from Arizona (the things you do for love, right?), we wanted to make the most of the experience, regardless of snow.

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Welcome To Black Canyon!

We ended up in quite a few parks with winter jackets on and sometimes a fear of missing out on the key experiences due to weather and road conditions. However, we entered Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park ready and excited to take on the day. The weather was cold, but it was very sunny and it was beautiful. We were visiting in November, starting the day in winter jackets, but ending the day in hoodies (remember, Michigan made us tough). For me, it is my favorite type of hiking weather.  I don’t sweat while I am hiking and can wear my leggings and sweatshirt; plus my cute hiking books are fleece lined.

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Snowy and Cold

We arrived in the park around 8:00am. We were heading to the Great Sand Dunes and Rocky Mountain National Parks still that day, so we had to have an early start. We winded up the mountain and stopped to take our sign picture as we entered the park. The fresh layer of snow was beautiful. We were there so early, the visitor center wasn’t open yet and we were creating the first tracks in the snow. It was gorgeous and the sun made the coating of snow appear as it had been sprayed with glitter. We were obsessed with how stunning everything was around us. It was also incredibly satisfying having the entire park to ourselves for most of the time that we spent in it. We were in admiration of something we quite frankly have seen hundreds of times. How could the same snow I hated wiping off my car every morning, also create such a beautiful and serene moment? We tried to capture how the snow was glistening with the sun, but our phones couldn’t capture the sparkle.

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The Camera Can't Do It Justice

One of the most amazing parts of visiting Black Canyon in November is the limited number of visitors. This park remains ingrained in our minds as one of our favorites due to the serenity we gained while visiting. We had time to take the photographs we truly wanted, without getting in anyone’s way. We could sit and listen to the sounds of a national park without conversations, phones dinging or a cameras clicking. We didn’t feel rushed to view the scenery and move on so others could look, and all of this combined was an incredible feeling. There was a moment where we both stopped walking, and just listened. You never realize how loud your footsteps can be until they are the only thing creating noise in an otherwise silent environment. Feeling as though we were the only two people within in many miles was exciting and made our adventure that much more memorable.

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Our Favorite Picture From This Trip

As we made our way back down Rim Drive Road, we were finally able to stop at the South Rim Visitor Center. After grabbing our magnet and sticker, I had an idea for a video at Gunnison Point. We headed back down the stairs, this time with some other visitors, and took so more shots of this addicting view.

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Black Canyon of The Gunnison NP

The sights from here are breathtaking and we stood to observe for a lot longer than we typically would at an overlook. It was so peaceful and stunning. We had originally wondered if we would enjoy the view more with full trees and running water, but something about the snow and vulnerability of the canyon was gorgeous to us, we both agreed our timing for this park was perfect.

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Gunnison Point

As mentioned above, I had the idea to get a shot of throwing snow to add to our video of the trip. It was really fun to record, and we loved how it turned out for the final shot of our video (be sure to check it out here). 

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Somebody Loves The Snow

Sunset View, Rock Point Trail, Pulpit Rock Overlook, and Devils Lookout Trail were some of the short trails that we hiked. Each has a similar view with a slightly different angle. We stopped at an area of Painted Wall to have breakfast with a view! We loved these areas of the park and stayed for awhile to observe and take pictures. It was just as amazing as Gunnison Point and we kept saying how much we loved every aspect of this beautiful park. A return trip to hike down the gorge is a must!

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Pulpit Rock Overlook

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Short Trail To The Overlook

This national park was definitely one of our favorites for many reasons. We loved the whole experience from the time of year, views, and hiking spots. We also stayed in one of our favorite Airbnb’s to date. Our tiny home was located about 20 minutes from the south park entrance. We had our own little deck and a creek running outfront. We only stayed one night, however, have said a few times, that we want to go back and stay with friends for a longer period of time. If you are looking for a location to stay while visiting Black Canyon, we highly recommend this location.

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Our Airbnb Tiny Home

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Our Favorite Airbnb!

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FIRE UP CHIPS!