SUBSCRIBE | NEWSLETTERS | MAPS | VIDEOS | BLOGS | MARKETPLACE | CONTESTS
TRY BACKPACKER FREE!
SUBSCRIBE NOW and get
2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Also on Backpacker.com


Enter Zip Code

Backpacker Magazine – September 2009

Footprints Needed: Colorado's Undiscovered Black Canyon

Descend into Colorado's Black Canyon and explore a park that has everything–life-list scenery, challenging terrain, a revitalized river–except hikers.

by: Bruce Barcott

Black Canyon's Inner Gorge (Pat & Chuck Blackley)
Black Canyon's Inner Gorge (Pat & Chuck Blackley)
Fishing for trout near the bottom of the South Rim's Warner Route.
Fishing for trout near the bottom of the South Rim's Warner Route.

America's Undiscovered Trails
19 more new and unknown hikes, from the bottom of a North Carolina gorge to the top of an Alaska volcano.

Plan It
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Getting There The park is 15 miles east of Montrose, Colorado. To reach the South Rim Visitor Center, head east on I-50, then north for six miles on CO 347.

Hiking All routes leading into the inner canyon are short, steep, and hard. The Red Rock Canyon Route descends 3.4 miles and 1,330 feet to a trio of campsites on the river. If you can't get a permit for Red Rock (see below), several shorter and steeper routes (one to three miles) offer access to riverside campsites. Caution: Poison ivy thrives in the inner canyon; wear long pants.

Permits Only Red Rock Canyon requires advance reservations. It's open for hiking from mid-May to early October; apply for a permit January to mid-March (nps.gov/blca/planyourvisit/redrockinfo.htm for details). Free wilderness permits are required (first come, first serve) for all hikers using other inner canyon routes.

Map Trails Illustrated Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is good for planning ($12; natgeomaps.com); few inner canyon trails are mapped, but they're so short that navigation is straightforward.

Season The spring flood (May to early June) is spectacular for river watching. Once the water settles down in June, stoneflies hatch and fly-fishermen converge on the inner canyon for a catch-and-release frenzy. Fall brings cooler temps and lower flow, making it the best time to explore the inner canyon.

Info (970) 641-2337; nps.gov/blca




Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip:
Email (req):

Reader Rating: -

READERS COMMENTS

Star Star Star Star Star
AZ Hiker
Mar 01, 2013

Beautiful scenery minus the crowds means less chance of other hikers finding you if you need help but it can still be a safe and enjoyable hike. Why? Because you read Felix! the Sugar Glider Be Safe Hike Smart (Amazon) before you hit the trail. A MUST READ for hikers who love the secret trails! Learn essential day-hiking skills, including items to pack, how to navigate your way with and without a map or compass, and how to get rescued. Learn to stay found by using a compass and paying attention to your surroundings. A compass doesn't need a signal or batteries and works in all types of weather but you need to know how to use it and this book makes learning how to use a compass easy. Hike smart with this fast, easy read that could save your life and will definitely make hiking off the beaten path safer and more enjoyable!

Steve C
Oct 08, 2009

The author paid his friend Fritz Holleman one of the best compliments for an outdoorsman I've heared in a long time..."a good friend, able climber, and fly-fishing fanatic."

Steve C,
Oct 08, 2009

Having grown up around western rivers, mountains and gorges, I was transported from my cubicle to the scree slopes, with the river thundering in my ears. Great story.

ADD A COMMENT

Your rating:
Your Name:

Comment:

My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

Health and Fitness
2014 fitness updates
Posted On: Aug 21, 2014
Submitted By: RebeccaD
Gear
MYOG Alcohol Stoves
Posted On: Aug 21, 2014
Submitted By: Tigger
Go
View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site MyRockyMountainPark.com.

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
City:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
State:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions