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The Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Painted Wall Dawn
The Painted Wall and the Gunnison River shortly before sunrise.

It’s been a few years since I had been to many of the main overlooks along the South Rim in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and I thought it was time to finally get back for another visit. Diane and I left home early enough on Saturday morning so that we were able to make it to the Cedar Point overlook about a half hour before the sun came up. I spent that time photographing The Painted Wall and the deep canyon below us until shortly after the sunrise. Once the sun was up we drove the rest of the way to the end of the road and hiked out to Warner Point since I had never been out there before. Clouds started rolling in from the west as we hiked back to the trailhead as a storm front moved into the area that was supposed to bring us some rain for the next couple of days. After our hike, we drove back out of the park and stopped at a couple of the other viewpoints along the way. Before leaving we drove down the East Portal Road to the Crystal Dam on the Gunnison River and were pleasantly surprised to find a couple nice patches of fall colors along the way. It’s always nice to spend a few hours along the rim of The Black Canyon.

A touch of alpenglow on The Painted Wall shortly after arriving at the overlook.

Painted Wall Alpenglow

The Gunnison River far below.

Gunnison River

Sunlight touches the rim of The Black Canyon.

Black Canyon Sunrise

Hiking the trail out to Warner Point.

Warner Point Trail

The beginning of the Warner Route that takes you down into the wilderness and the bottom of the canyon. I might have to give this hike a try one day.

Black Canyon Wilderness

The view down the canyon from Warner Point towards the Grand Mesa. We could just barely see the end of Red Rock Canyon which Diane and I visited last year.

Warner Point View

A storm front moves in over the Uncompahgre Valley as we hiked back.

Storm Front

There was a nice view of the Sneffels Range over Bostwick Park, too.

San Juan Mountains

A little light broke through the clouds and into the canyon while I was at Dragon Point.

Canyon Light

The Gunnison River from Dragon Point.

River Below

A juniper tree that caught my eye as I hiked back from Dragon Point.

Dragon Tree

Light briefly strikes The Painted Wall with dark clouds above.

The Painted Wall

A closeup of the streaks that give The Painted Wall it’s name.

Painted Wall Detail

The Gunnison River below The Painted Wall.

Below The Wall

The view from Rock Point over Grizzly Gulch to Landsend Peak (10,806) and Coal Mountain (11,705) in the West Elks.

Rock Point

Hiking back from Rock Point.

Rock Point Trail

Here are two photos of the fall colors we found beside the Gunnison River while driving the East Portal Road.


Yellow Spot

>> The Black Canyon Photo Gallery


  1. Betty Avalos
    Betty Avalos October 18, 2015

    BEAUTIFUL Pics, Randy!!!

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