Winner for 18 straight years of the “Most Dramatic National Park Name” contest is Black Canyon of the Gunnison, a massive granite canyon divided by the roaring Gunnison River.
Located roughly 250 miles southwest of Denver, Colorado, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park protects a region that has had a major impact on the surrounding lands. Originally nicknamed the “Black Canyon” due to the fact that parts of the Canyon are almost permanently in shadow, the Canyon was largely unexplored until the early 20th century due to both its difficult terrain and the fast currents of the dividing Gunnison River.
However, in 1901, two determined surveyors named Abraham Lincoln Fellows and William Torrence would manage to brave and survive a surveying trip down the canyon, paving the way for the eventual construction of the Gunnison Tunnel. This Tunnel would divert the waters of the Gunnison out to the surrounding land, literally transforming what was once essentially desert into lush green farm land.
Protected as a National Monument since 1933 and as a National Park since 1999 (Clinton), Black Canyon of the Gunnison is now operated as two separate units (North and South) and is best explored via Car, as the terrain is quite difficult to navigate for the average hiker. Here are my photos from my trip there:
Categories: US National Parks