Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in the state of Colorado attracts over 170,000 visitors annually. On an area of 124 km² you can experience and discover the history of America up close. The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park was founded on October 21, 1999 and is therefore still a very “young” national park. At least in terms of status, because its history is much longer than that of some other parks. See directoryaah for museums in Colorado.
The history of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
The Black Canyon has always been a death canyon. Nobody could really live there. Humans had tried to settle there for ages, but the gorge always won. Human remains have been discovered during excavations on the edge of the Black Canyon. Even the largest Indian tribe, the Ute Indians, shied away from the canyon and never inhabited its deeper realms. The Spaniards, who were the first Europeans to penetrate the Black Canyon area, also avoided crossing the gorge.
When the railroad was built in 1882, the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad also wanted to lay a route through the canyon. Byron Bryant and his team took on the daring task of measuring the Black Canyon for it. Every day the team climbed down the canyon and measured it. It was difficult to get ahead because work began in December. The already very icy gorge did not show its sympathetic side. After just a few weeks, the first of the squad gave up. But Bryant stuck with it and after 68 days he arrived at the end of Black Canyon, where he could finish his icy work. He came to the conclusion that building the railway line would not be profitable. In 1905, after several exploratory expeditions, the construction of the Gunnison Diverson Tunnel began. This construction work was finished in 1909. Since then, the tunnel has been supplying water to the Uncompaghre valley.
Eventually it was realized that the area around the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park could be used for tourism. After a few years, then President Bill Clinton named the Black Canyon of the Gunnison a national park.
The animals of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Since this national park is mainly a gorge, animals that prefer rock are also predominantly present here. The great horned owl is particularly famous for this area. This feeds on rabbits that live on the canyon rim. The mountain hut warbler has also found his home here in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and feeds exclusively on insects. You can experience this fellow when you visit the national park, because unlike the eagle owl, it is a diurnal animal. You can also admire the peregrine falcon, the white-breasted swift and the canyon wren here. In addition, you can find the gray-water blackbird and the rare broad-tailed hummingbird, which performs daring acrobatic acts with its flying skills.
Particularly worth seeing
The absolute highlight of the park is, for once, not the animals, but a road that runs along the southern edge of the canyon. Hikers will also get their money’s worth, as there are several hiking trails and routes around the canyon. For the brave there is also a path on the edge of the Black Canyon down to the river there. However, you should plan in time, because the descent takes up to four hours, for the ascent you need about 6 hours.