The Black Canyon of the Gunnison River is one of Colorado's—and indeed the West's—most awe-inspiring places. A vivid testament to the powers of erosion, the canyon is roughly 2,000 feet deep. At its narrowest point, it spans 1,000 feet at the rim and only 40 feet at the bottom. The steep angles of the cliffs make it difficult for sunlight to fully break through during much of the day, and ever-present shadows blanket the canyon walls, leaving some places in almost perpetual darkness. No wonder it's called the "Black Canyon."
- Sheer of heights Play it safe, but edge as close to the canyon rim as you dare and peer over into an abyss that's more than 2,700 feet deep in some places.
- Rapids transit Experienced paddlers can tackle Class V rapids and 50°F water with the occasional portage past untamable sections of the Gunnison River.
- Fine fishing Fish the rare Gold Medal Waters of the Gunnison. Of the 9,000 miles of trout streams in Colorado, only 168 miles have this "gold medal" distinction.
- Triple-park action Check out Curecanti National Recreation Area and Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area, which bookend Black Canyon.
- Cliff-hangers Watch experts climb the Painted Wall—Colorado's tallest vertical wall at 2,250 feet—and other challenging rock faces.