07 November, 2020

Black Canyon of Gunnison, Montrose, Colorado

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We have traveled a lot across Colorado and covered around 80% of places in the state. But, this is the first time for us visiting Southwest Colorado.

We visited Mesa Verde national park, Great Sand dunes national park, Mahalakshmi temple in Crestone, and Pagosa Springs but never ventured beyond that.

We have heard a lot about Telluride, the Switzerland of America- Ouray, and million-dollar highway,  so we were planning for this dream trip for a long time. But, we don't want to do a quick trip as well. As usual, we plan to cover all the beautiful places around whenever we visit one place.

Due to the Covid,  these days we are exploring local places more than ever. Black Canyon of Gunnison is known as a less visited national park in Colorado. So, obviously, our choice during this time!

But, I strongly recommend not to travel to Colorado now as Covid cases are on the highest point with an average of 3000 cases every day. Fortunately, we traveled just before the fall season started and the cases were less at that time.

Here is our travelogue - Day 1 and Day 2

Day 1 is mostly dedicated to traveling to Montrose from Colorado Springs. This time, we chose to go through Salida, driving along the river. We crossed Salida, driving through the scenic Collegiate Peaks byway. It's our first time watching so many peaks together in Colorado even though we are not new to the mountains.

We crossed through Monarch Pass, and the drive was splendid. The road between Monarch Pass and Montrose was beautiful too. We could see the vast waterbody - The Gunnison River along the route. 

Lovely beaches and scenic bridges!

Day 2 - Black Canyon of Gunnison

We rested for that night in Montrose at Hampton Inn. The hotel was very good and they provided excellent cleaning services in the light of Covid. 

Black Canyon of Gunnison National park in Western Colorado is a steep canyon known for it's highest cliff 'Painted wall'. The Black canyon got its name as some parts of the canyon don't get any sunlight due to its depth and look black. The entry fee is $25 per vehicle.

We reached Black Canyon of Gunnison by 11 AM. The South rim visitor center was open and the Park official guided us on kid-friendly trails and tips to save time to cover more in one day.

Our plan was set! We wanted to cover almost all overlook points in South rim Scenic drive, drive down through the winding East portal road, have lunch at Montrose and drive to North rim.

This is the first overlook that impressed us. Tomichi Overlook.

Some great overlook points are Devil's lookout, Chasm View, Painted wall view, Dragon point, and Sunset view. 

See the Gunnison river in between the canyon walls and the beautiful red colors of the rocks.

We did a kid-friendly trail - Warner point nature trail which is around 1.5 miles round trip, but we were not too satisfied with that trail as it wasn't very scenic. We would have tried oak flat loop trail instead. It's 2 miles round trip.

Driving through the East Portal road is a great experience. It's a dirt narrow winding road, so you need to drive in low gear slowly, but it's completely worth it.
Here is a photo from the river up close after reaching down!

Then, we finished our lunch on the way to North rim. The drive to North rim from South rim takes 2 hrs and it is mostly boring and not scenic(through Hotchkiss). But, I definitely recommend the other route along Curecanti recreational area which will take around 2.5 hrs, if you have the extra time. That is the scenic alternative.

The overlooks / View are much better from the North rim than the South Rim, but you should set 3 to 5 hrs of your time just to drive and cover them. 

Can you see the little heart-shaped land between canyon? Isn't it cool?

In the North Rim, the Exclamation point gives the best view. We also did a small hike which offered amazing views. The North rim visitor center was closed. Due to covid, only limited facilities are open. 

We were exhausted by the end of the day with many hikes and relaxed in our hotel. We would have spent time at the hot tub spa but couldn't due to Covid. Travel can never be the same until the Covid vaccine comes, right?

Stay in touch with me on my blog / Instagram (@ramyaelr) / Twitter (@mahathi_ramya)/ Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/fantasticfeathers.in) so that you don't miss Day 3 and Day 4 of our travelogues :-)

Use this interactive map to find accommodations to stay in Montrose.

Until next time,

Linking this to #MondayMusings hosted by Corinne


  1. Beautiful! One of our sons lives in Colorado, so we are longing for the day when travel is safe again. The rock formations in your state are breathtaking!

    1. True! I feel thankful to be in this state. Thanks for dropping by Morin.

  2. I have heard a few songs and read some stories set in Colorado. . Your trip and photos dp justice to how lovely I pictured this place to be.
    Am definitely still not traveling but I do enjoy reading of travels :)

    1. Ya, for now only virtual travel. Thanks Eesha.

  3. I liked the pictures you shared of the rocks and the river. And, I also liked the name, Exclamation Point! :) How wonderful to be able to see it all and enjoy being amidst nature!

  4. Awe inspiring landscape, Mahathi. Glad you travelled safely.

  5. Lovely places to visit .. colorado is on my list

    Ruchi Nasa https://thevagabond.me

  6. Lovely pics of the gorges. It makes one feel so humble.

  7. Beautiful views! We haven't been to anywhere since covid started except for a nearby lake visit last month. Visiting local places make sense during this time.


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