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Black Canyon of the Gunnison Overlooks
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is absolutely beautiful! One of the best things about the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is that you can see the best views by simply stopping at the overlooks! You don’t need to go on an hour long hike to get the views, you can just walk 100-400 yards to get that perfect photo for your instagram.
Getting to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison
The easiest way to get to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is to fly straight into Montrose and then drive 20-25 minutes to the park entrance. You could also fly into Grand Junction, which is about an hour and a half drive away from the park entrance. We were coming from Denver, which was about a 5 hour drive.
North Verse South Rim
There are two parts to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, the South Rim and the North Rim. The North Rim is about a 2 hour drive from the South Rim. It would be nice if there was a bridge connecting the two sides of the park, but that would ruin the views! The majority of tourists visit the South Rim since it has the better overlooks, it’s easier to get to, and it has better amenities (bathrooms, camping , etc). Everything discussed in this post relates to the South Rim but I just wanted to mention the North Rim incase you plan to spend several days in the area.
How long does it take to view the overlooks at Black Canyon of the Gunnison?
It doesn’t take very long to view all of the overlooks. You could easily see the overlooks listed below in 2 hours if you’re in a rush (maybe you’re racing against the sunset like we were). If you want to sit and enjoy the view a little, then I recommend planning a half day at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.
Keep in mind it takes about 30 minutes to get from Highway US-50 to the end of the South Rim Road. So miminum an hour long just to drive through the park. Then plan to spend about 20-30 minutes at each overlook.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison Overlook Guide
There are about 13 overlooks along the South Rim Road in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.
Honestly, after a while an overlook just becomes another overlook. So I’m going to focus on my favorites and recommend skipping the following: Tomichi Point, Rock Point, Devil’s Lookout, Painted Wall View, Cedar Point, High Point, and Warner Point.
I recommend going in the order listed below because the views get better as you continue on your journey. Gunnison Point will seem amazing when you’re first starting off but it might be a bit of a disapointment after Dragon Point and Sunset View.
The most popular overlook in the park is Gunnison Point. It’s directly behind the visitor center and provides a great view of tthe canyon. The view at Gunnison Point is similar to Tomichi Point but provides a less obstructed view of the canyon.
Pulpit Rock Overlook
Pulpit Rock Overlook is your first chance to really see the Gunnison River winding through the canyon. We stayed here for a while just enjoying the view, it was breathtaking! Pulpit Rock Overlook is a short hike from the road, just 134 yards to this beauty!
Cross Fissures View
The walk out to Cross Fissures View is about 357 yards, that’s less than one lap around a track and the views are amazing! Words and pictures just don’t do the Cross Fissures View justice. The view is hard to explain, basically it’s a close up view of the jagged rock formations and deep river crevices. It’s different from some of the other overlooks, which is why it’s one of my favorites.
Chasm view is directly off the road so why not stop? It’s not my favorite viewpoint but I don’t understand how you can drive by when it’s just right there!
Dragon Point was my absolute favorite overlook in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. The views of the Gunnison River against the rocky canyon walls were just magnificent. Cedar Point provides very similar views but the path down to the overlook is a little longer (which is why I recommend Dragon Point instead). The path from the parking lot to Dragon Point is only 100 yards, definitely an easy little walk.
Sunset view is another viewpoint just right off the road. The view is similar to Dragon Point but you feel farther away (similar to zooming out on a camera). Still great views that will only take 5 minutes of your time!
If you’re super short on time, then I recommend Pulpit Rock Overlook, Cross Fissures View, and Dragon Point. Those are my 3 favorite overlooks at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park!!
If you have extra time at the end of viewing the overlooks, then I recommend driving down to East Portal Road to view the park from the river (look up at the rock formations instead of down).