Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park vs Canyonlands National Park

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Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Canyonlands National Park are two of the most spectacular natural wonders in the American Southwest. Both parks offer unique and breathtaking landscapes that are sure to leave visitors in awe. Black Canyon of the Gunnison is known for its deep, narrow gorges that are carved by the Gunnison River. The park’s dramatic cliffs and steep walls tower over 2,000 feet above the river and offer some of the most spectacular views in the entire country. On the other hand, Canyonlands National Park offers a completely different experience with its vast and colorful desert landscapes. The park is divided into three districts, each offering its own unique geological features and recreational opportunities. Whether you’re a hiker, a photographer, or just someone looking for a scenic drive, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Canyonlands National Park have something to offer everyone. In this article, we will take a closer look at these two amazing parks and compare their features, activities, and best time to visit.

Hiking Trails in Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park and Canyonlands National Park

Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park is home to some of the most challenging and strenuous hiking trails in the National Park System. The park’s main trail, the Rim Rock Trail, offers a strenuous hike that takes visitors to the edge of the canyon, where they can look out over the steep and narrow gorge. Other popular hikes include the Oak Flat Trail and the Warner Point Nature Trail, both of which offer breathtaking views of the canyon and its unique geology.

Canyonlands National Park, on the other hand, offers a wide variety of hiking trails that cater to different skill levels. The park is known for its vast network of trails that wind through its rugged and beautiful landscape. Some of the most popular hikes include the Island in the Sky Trail, which offers panoramic views of the park’s red rock canyons, and the Chesler Park Loop, which is a strenuous hike that takes visitors through a remote and rugged area of the park. Additionally, park also offers easy hikes like the Grand View Point Trail, which is perfect for families with children.

Overall, both parks offer some of the most challenging and beautiful hikes in the country, but Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park is more geared towards experienced hikers while Canyonlands National Park offers a variety of options for all skill levels.

Most Popular Hiking Trails in Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park

Name Length Elevation Type Difficulty Visitor Ratings
Warner Point Nature Trail 1.50 mi 406.72 ft out and back Easy 4.5/5
Oak Flat Loop Trail 1.30 mi 311.60 ft loop Moderate 4/5
Gunnison Route Trail 1.80 mi 1,781.04 ft out and back Very Hard 4.5/5
Painted Wall View Trail 0.20 mi 6.56 ft out and back Easy 4.5/5
Chasm View Nature Trail 0.60 mi 108.24 ft loop Easy 5/5
Exclamation Point 2.89 mi 364.08 ft out and back Easy 4.5/5
Green Mountain Summit Via North Vista Trail 6.49 mi 1,226.72 ft out and back Moderate 4.5/5
Gunnison Point Overlook 0.20 mi 78.72 ft out and back Easy 4.5/5
Rim Rock Nature Trail 1.50 mi 186.96 ft out and back Moderate 4/5
Warner Route 4.19 mi 3,034.00 ft out and back Very Hard 4.5/5

Most Popular Hiking Trails in Canyonlands National Park

Name Length Elevation Type Difficulty Visitor Ratings
Mesa Arch Trail 0.60 mi 62.32 ft loop Easy 4.5/5
Grand View Point Trail 1.80 mi 173.84 ft out and back Easy 4.5/5
Chesler Park Loop Trail 11.57 mi 1,935.20 ft loop Moderate 5/5
False Kiva Trail 1.90 mi 449.36 ft out and back Moderate 4.5/5
Upheaval Dome via Crater View Trail 1.50 mi 301.76 ft out and back Moderate 4/5
Aztec Butte Trail 1.30 mi 219.76 ft out and back Moderate 4.5/5
Druid Arch Trail 9.48 mi 1,374.32 ft out and back Moderate 4.5/5
Shafer Trail 19.16 mi 3,116.00 ft point to point Moderate 4.5/5
White Rim Overlook Trail 1.80 mi 160.72 ft out and back Easy 4.5/5
Syncline Loop 8.58 mi 1,630.16 ft loop Very Hard 4.5/5

Wildlife in Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park and Canyonlands National Park

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Canyonlands National Park are both home to a wide variety of wildlife, including animals, birds, and plants. However, the types of wildlife found in each park can vary greatly.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is home to a variety of mammals, including mule deer, bighorn sheep, and elk. The park is also home to a variety of birds, including golden eagles, turkey vultures, and peregrine falcons. The park is also home to a variety of reptiles, including lizards and snakes, as well as a variety of fish that can be found in the Gunnison River. Additionally, the park is home to a variety of plants, including pinyon pine, juniper, and sagebrush.

Canyonlands National Park, on the other hand, is home to a variety of mammals, including mule deer, bighorn sheep, and desert bighorn sheep. The park is also home to a variety of birds, including golden eagles, turkey vultures, and peregrine falcons. The park is also home to a variety of reptiles, including lizards and snakes, as well as a variety of fish that can be found in the Colorado River. Additionally, the park is home to a variety of plants, including pinyon pine, juniper, and sagebrush.

Both parks are home to a variety of wildlife, but the species that are found in each park can vary. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is known for its Gunnison River which is a great place to spot fish, Canyonlands National Park is known for its desert bighorn sheep, which are not found in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Additionally, the park’s unique geography and different elevations can also influence the types of wildlife that can be found in each park.

Below are lists of the most commonly spotted wildlife at Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park and Canyonlands National Park. However, you can see a full list of wildlife at each national park here.

Birds

Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park Canyonlands National Park
Peregrine Falcon Peregrine Falcon
Northern Harrier Northern Harrier
Sharp-Shinned Hawk Sharp-Shinned Hawk
Osprey Osprey
Tree Swallow Tree Swallow
Mallard Mallard
Canada Goose Canada Goose
Lincoln’s Sparrow Lincoln’s Sparrow
Ruby-Crowned Kinglet Ruby-Crowned Kinglet
American Robin American Robin
Great Horned Owl Great Horned Owl
Red-Tailed Hawk Red-Tailed Hawk
Northern Flicker Northern Flicker
Merlin Merlin
Barn Swallow Barn Swallow
Great Blue Heron Savannah Sparrow
Hermit Thrush Great Blue Heron
American Kestrel Hermit Thrush
Bald Eagle American Kestrel
Song Sparrow Bald Eagle
European Starling Song Sparrow
Northern Pintail European Starling
American Wigeon Northern Pintail
Green-Winged Teal American Wigeon
American Pipit Green-Winged Teal

Mammals

Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park Canyonlands National Park
Coyote Coyote
American Beaver American Beaver
Muskrat Muskrat
Big Brown Bat Big Brown Bat
Bobcat Bobcat
Striped Skunk Striped Skunk
Little Brown Bat Little Brown Bat
Deer Mouse Deer Mouse
Raccoon Raccoon
Black Bear Black Bear
Porcupine Porcupine
Silver-Haired Bat Silver-Haired Bat
Hoary Bat Hoary Bat
Red Fox Red Fox
Long-Tailed Weasel Long-Tailed Weasel
House Mouse House Mouse
Mountain Lion Mountain Lion
American Mink American Mink
Mule Deer Mule Deer
Common Gray Fox Common Gray Fox
Long-Legged Myotis Long-Legged Myotis
Long-Eared Myotis Long-Eared Myotis
American Badger American Badger
California Myotis Ermine
Snowshoe Hare California Myotis

Fish

Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park Canyonlands National Park
Rainbow Trout Rainbow Trout
Brown Trout Brown Trout
Long-Nose Sucker Largemouth Bass
Northern Pike Green Sunfish
Mottled Sculpin Bluegill
Speckled Dace Fathead Minnow
Common Carp
Northern Pike
Speckled Dace
Yellow Bullhead
Channel Catfish
Kokanee Salmon
Black Crappie
Black Bullhead
Mosquitofish
Smallmouth Bass

Reptiles

Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park Canyonlands National Park
Gophersnake Gophersnake
Terrestrial Gartersnake Terrestrial Gartersnake
Common Sagebrush Lizard Eastern Racer
Greater Short-Horned Lizard Prairie Rattlesnake
Milksnake Common Sagebrush Lizard
Striped Whipsnake Greater Short-Horned Lizard
Tree Lizard Side-Blotched Lizard
Eastern Collared Lizard Common Kingsnake
Nightsnake
Long-Nosed Leopard Lizard
Striped Whipsnake
Smith’s Black-Headed Snake
Tree Lizard
Western Whiptail
Eastern Collared Lizard
Desert Spiny Lizard

Amphibians

Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park Canyonlands National Park
Northern Leopard Frog Northern Leopard Frog
Tiger Salamander Tiger Salamander
American Bullfrog
Woodhouse’s Toad
Red-Spotted Toad
Canyon Treefrog

Beautiful Landscapes in Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park and Canyonlands National Park

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Canyonlands National Park are both known for their stunning and unique natural landscapes. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is famous for its steep and narrow gorge that is carved out of solid granite by the Gunnison River. The park offers breathtaking views of the 2,250-foot deep canyon and the river below. The park offers several overlooks that provide visitors with panoramic views of the canyon and its unique rock formations.

Canyonlands National Park is famous for its vast and colorful landscape, which is carved out of sandstone by the Colorado and Green rivers. The park is divided into four districts, each offering different types of landscapes and activities. The Island in the Sky district is known for its high mesas and cliffs that offer panoramic views of the park. The Needles district is known for its colorful rock formations, spires, and natural arches. The Maze district is known for its canyons, rock art, and ancient ruins, and the rivers district is known for its river rafting, kayaking and fishing. Both parks offer a wide range of activities, such as hiking, camping, and rock climbing, making them perfect destinations for outdoor enthusiasts.

Things To-Do and Activities in Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park and Canyonlands National Park

Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park and Canyonlands National Park are both popular destinations for outdoor enthusiasts, but the activities and experiences offered by each park are quite different.

Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park is known for its challenging and steep hiking trails that offer stunning views of the deep and narrow gorge. The park also offers fishing, camping, and rock climbing opportunities. Popular hikes in the park include the strenuous Gunnison Route, which descends over 2,000 feet into the canyon, and the strenuous South Rim Road, which offers a scenic drive and overlooks of the canyon.

Canyonlands National Park, on the other hand, is a rugged and vast wilderness area that offers a wide variety of activities for visitors. The park is divided into four districts: The Island in the Sky, The Needles, The Maze, and The Rivers. Visitors can hike, bike, and ride horses on the many trails in the park, or take a scenic drive through the park to see the beautiful red rock formations and canyons. The park is also popular for its backcountry camping and river rafting opportunities.

Overall, Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park is a great destination for those looking for a more strenuous outdoor experience and Canyonlands National Park for those looking for a variety of outdoor activities and a chance to explore a vast wilderness area. Both parks are great options for families with children, but it’s recommended to check the park’s website for specific information on family-friendly activities and programs.

Best Time to Visit Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park and Canyonlands National Park

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Canyonlands National Park are both located in the western United States and offer unique and diverse landscapes for visitors to explore. However, the seasonal weather in the two parks can be quite different, which affects the best time of year to visit.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, located in western Colorado, experiences hot summers and cold winters. The park is open year-round, but the most popular time to visit is during the spring and fall when the temperatures are milder. Summer temperatures can reach into the 90s Fahrenheit, making hiking and other outdoor activities less comfortable. Winter can bring snow and freezing temperatures, making some park roads and trails inaccessible.

Canyonlands National Park, located in southern Utah, also experiences hot summers and cold winters. However, the park’s high elevation can make the summer temperatures more moderate than in Black Canyon of the Gunnison. The park is also open year-round, but the most popular time to visit is during the spring and fall when the temperatures are milder. Summer temperatures can reach into the 90s Fahrenheit, making hiking and other outdoor activities less comfortable. Winter can bring snow and freezing temperatures, making some park roads and trails inaccessible, but many visitors come for the winter sports like snowshoeing, cross country skiing and ice climbing.

Overall, the best time to visit Black Canyon of the Gunnison and Canyonlands National Parks would be during the spring and fall months, when the weather is mild and comfortable for outdoor activities.

Family Friendliness of Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park and Canyonlands National Park

Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park and Canyonlands National Park are both stunning natural wonders that offer a variety of activities and sights for families to enjoy. However, the level of difficulty and accessibility of the parks can differ depending on the age of the children and the family’s interests.
Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park is known for its rugged and steep terrain, making it a better fit for older children or families looking for a more challenging outdoor experience. The park offers several hiking trails, including the strenuous and steep Warner Point Nature Trail, which offers breathtaking views of the canyon.
On the other hand, Canyonlands National Park is a great option for families with younger children or those looking for a more relaxed and leisurely experience. The park offers several easy hikes, such as the Mesa Arch Trail, which offers a scenic view of the surrounding canyons and rock formations. Additionally, the park offers several scenic drives, making it easy to explore the park and take in the sights without much physical exertion.
So, if you’re looking for a park that offers a balance of adventure and relaxation, Canyonlands National Park might be the better choice for your family. But if you’re looking for a more challenging outdoor experience, Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park is the place to be.

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