I had never heard of Black Canyon of the Gunnison before setting a goal of visiting all the National Parks. I don’t recall ever seeing photos or it or hearing the name, but after visiting this national park in Colorado, I fully understand why it’s on the list of National Parks.
This park of kind of unexpected. I visited it on my 10 day Arizona and Colorado Road Trip in 2018. I was in Durango, Colorado before heading up to the National Park. The canyon in this park was created by the Gunnison River flowing between the rocks over the last 2 million years and has two bigger sections, the North Rima nd South Rim, with the Southern portion being the most developed.
I drove the South Rim and got out at each of the overlooks, about 12 in all. It took about 2 or so hours to visit them all. You can check out the info on both the south and north rim trails here. You can explore the inner portions of the canyon as well as rock climb and kayak on the river. If you have your own horses, you can also take a ride down into the canyon along the Deadhorse Trail.
Unless you’re camping, you likely wouldn’t spend more than a day or two at the park. You could spend about half a day exploring the north rim and about half day exploring the south rim. After spending time at this park, you can check out Mesa Verde National Park, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, or the Colorado National Monument. Each is a few hours away but worth a visit.