Today we will visit Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. This is the newest of the National Parks, Bill Clinton changed it from a National Monument to a National Park in 1999.
We entered the park and showed our park pass, then went to the Visitor Center.
At the visitor center is the first viewpoint of about 12 viewpoints along the South Rim Road.
Next was Pulpit Rock Overlook. It took 2 million years for the Gunnison River to carve these canyon walls. It is about 2000 feet to the bottom.
Painted Wall. This is the highest cliff in Colorado at 2300 ft. The patterns in the rock face were created more than a billion years ago when molten rock filled the fractures and joints in the existing rock, then cooled and hardened.
High Point. This is the end of the road and we turn around and head back towards the visitor center.
From the visitor center we head out on the East Portal Road. This road will dead end in about 12 miles, but it promises to be a great drive. The sign says extreme grades and sharp curves.. sounds like fun. We have driven on steep grades before, but never as much as 16%
At the bottom of the road is the Gunnison Diversion Dam which was built to divert water from the river through a 5 mile tunnel through the mountain and out the other side to provide water for the fields and homes in the Uncompahgre Valley.
And a bit further along is the Crystal Dam. You can’t see too much because the area is fenced off.
We turned around and headed back to the top. Climbing the 16% grade was a bit of a chore for our car but we made it.
When we got back to the top, there were several cows in the road blocking our way.
We got onto US 50 and headed towards our hotel in Gunnison CO. US 50 passes through the Curecanti Recreational Area.
To see all of our photos from today, you can find them on my Flickr site.