Best Hikes Ever: North Vista Trail, CO

Aim upward for majestic views over an ancient canyon.
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Aim upward for majestic views over an ancient canyon.

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The metamorphic rock walls rising 2,000 feet above the Gunnison River make Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP a climbing and hiking paradise that hosts about 2 million fewer visitors than Rocky Mountain NP. We’ve written about the Black, but always focused on descending its depths, rather than tracing its rim.

Check out the Gunnison via the North Vista Trail, a 7.8-mile, out-and-back path that skirts the north rim before ending atop 8,563-foot Green Mountain. Pass though piñon and juniper to grandiose views of the river, including a stop after 1.2 miles to catch cross-canyon vistas at the appropriately named Exclamation Point.

Map USGS quad Grizzly Ridge

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