Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve vs. Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park

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If you’re planning a vacation and would like a quick comparison of Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve and Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park, we’ve got you covered.

We’ll take a look at what they have to offer in terms of hiking and wildlife, plus what the best time of year to visit might be.

Let’s get started with an overview of Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve.

Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve Overview

Wrangell-St. Elias is a vast national park that rises from the ocean all the way up to 18,008 ft. At 13.2 million acres, the park is the same size as Yellowstone National Park, Yosemite National Park, and Switzerland combined! Within this wild landscape, people continue to live off the land as they have done for centuries. This rugged, beautiful land is filled with opportunities for adventure.

Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park Overview

Big enough to be overwhelming, still intimate enough to feel the pulse of time, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park exposes you to some of the steepest cliffs, oldest rock, and craggiest spires in North America. With two million years to work, the Gunnison River, along with the forces of weathering, has sculpted this vertical wilderness of rock, water, and sky.

Hiking At National Parks

Most national parks have some of the best hiking trails you’ll find anywhere in the US.

If you’re planning to take along your furry friend, double-check the rules before you go – as many of the parks have different rules about bringing animals along with you.

Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve Hiking Trails

Wrangell – St Elias National Park is a haven for hikers of all levels of experience. Novice hikers can start with the easy Crosswind Lake trail, which offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains without too much elevation gain. For those looking for a more challenging hike, the Crescent Lake trail is a great option. It is longer than the Crosswind Lake trail and has a steeper elevation gain, but it is still considered to be relatively easy. More experienced hikers can tackle one of the park’s difficult trails, such as the Donoho Peak trail, which summits one of the park’s tallest peaks. Wrangell – St Elias National Park is truly a paradise for hikers of all levels of ability.

Best Hikes At Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve

The ratings below are based on user-submitted data at AllTrails.com

Hike Name Elevation Gain Difficulty Rating Type Average Rating
Upper Sand Creek Lake Trail 598.932 7 out and back 4.5
Medano Lake Trail 697.992 3 out and back 4
Montville Nature Trail 26.8224 1 loop 4
Dunes Overlook Sand Ramp Trail 80.772 3 out and back 3.5
Little Medano Creek Trail to Medano Lake 1079.9064 3 out and back 4
Wellington Ditch Trail 47.8536 1 out and back 4
Dunes Overlook Trail 143.8656 3 out and back 4
Pinion Flats Campground Trail 26.8224 1 loop 4
High Dune Trail 191.7192 5 out and back 5
High and Star Dune Loop 403.86 3 loop 4.5

Hiking Overview at Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park

Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park is a hiker’s paradise, offering something for everyone from easy, scenic walks to challenging multi-day treks. Some of the most popular trails include the Chasm View Nature Trail, which offers stunning views of the Black Canyon; the Warner Point Nature Trail, which leads to a viewing platform overlooking the Gunnison River; and the Soapstone Nature Trail, which winds through a forest of aspen trees. For those looking for a more challenging hike, the Black Canyon Trail offers a strenuous 16-mile round trip that takes hikers down into the Black Canyon itself. Regardless of your hiking experience or fitness level, Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park has a trail that’s perfect for you.

Top 10 Hiking Trails at Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park

Hike Name Elevation Gain Difficulty Rating Type Average Rating
Gunnison Point Overlook 23.7744 1 out and back 4.5
Rim Rock Nature Trail 56.9976 3 out and back 4
Warner Route 924.7632 7 out and back 4.5
Cedar Point Nature Trail 4.8768 3 out and back 4.5
Dragon Point Trail 17.9832 1 out and back 4.5
High Point Trail 9.7536 3 out and back 4
East Portal Trail 5.7912 1 out and back 4
Pulpit Rock Overlook Trail 4.8768 1 out and back 4
Cross Fissures Trail 34.7472 1 out and back 4.5
Devils Lookout Trail 19.812 1 out and back 4.5

Wildlife at Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve

Wrangell – St Elias National Park is a mecca for wildlife enthusiasts. The park is home to an incredible array of animals, including bears, moose, wolves, and caribou. In addition, the park is also home to a variety of plant life, including tundra plants and towering spruce trees. With so much to see and explore, Wrangell – St Elias National Park is the perfect place to get up close and personal with some of Alaska’s most amazing wildlife.

Wildlife at Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park

Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park is home to an abundance of wildlife. You can expect to see animals such as bighorn sheep, elk, mule deer, coyotes, and red-tailed hawks. Plant life includes scrub oak, pinyon pine, juniper, and sagebrush. The variety of wildlife and vegetation creates a habitat that is perfect for hiking, bird watching, and wildlife photography. So come on down to Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park and get up close and personal with the amazing wildlife that calls this place home.

What’s the best time to visit?

A lot of times, weather can dictate when it makes the most sense to visit a particular national park.

Plus, depending on the types of activities you’re hoping to take part in, seasonality will be a huge factor in whether those things are even available.

Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve Weather Considerations

Wrangell – St Elias National Park is one of the largest national parks in the United States, and it is known for its varied and extreme weather conditions. The park experiences very cold winters, with average temperatures ranging from -20 to -10 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the summers are relatively mild, with average temperatures ranging from 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The best time to visit the park is during the summer months, when the weather is more conducive to outdoor activities such as hiking and camping. However, visitors should be aware that the early summer months can be rainy, so it is best to plan accordingly. The worst time to visit the park is during the winter, when temperatures are at their lowest and conditions are often treacherous. If you do choose to visit during this time, be sure to bring appropriate clothing and gear to ensure your safety.

Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park Weather Considerations

Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park is one of the most beautiful places in the United States. The canyon is extremely deep and narrow, and the views are simply stunning. However, the weather at Black Canyon can be quite extreme, and it’s important to know what to expect before you visit.

The best time to visit Black Canyon is during the spring or fall. The weather is milder during these months, and there are usually fewer crowds. However, if you’re planning on doing any hiking, be aware that the trails can be very icy in the spring.

The worst time to visit Black Canyon is during the summer. It can be incredibly hot in the canyon, and there is very little shade. If you do decide to visit during the summer, make sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen.