Hiking Green Mountain in Black Canyon (Gunnison National Park)
While in Colorado, my husband and I wanted to be outside as much as possible. We found the Green Mountain in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. It’s far off the beaten path, and you are driving an extra hour down dirt roads and no service zones to get there. But is it worth it? Yes. Hiking Green Mountain in Black Canyon is a great 3-4 hour hike. We took our time, and it took us about 4 hours round trip. We stopped for a while to admire the views, especially at the summit of Green Mountain and Exclamation Point.
The North Rim of The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is located near Crawford, Colorado. The South Rim is located near Montrose, Colorado. Between the two rims is nearly a 2-hour drive.
One of the most beautiful views of the trail, Exclamation Point, is worth it and not as far. To be honest, it rivals the views of the Grand Canyon. You basically follow the rim of Black Canyon, so the entire 7 miles (3.5 out and back) is worth it. After visiting Exclamation Point, I believe it’s closer to 8 miles round trip.
We started around noon from the North Rim Ranger Station. It costs $15 to enter Gunnison National Park.
The first miles are peaceful. Since the Green Mountain Trail is so far off the beaten path, there aren’t a lot of hikers. We saw about four parties the entire time we were out. Some spots are shaded and hidden from the sun.
Around mile 1.5 is the view of Exclamation Point. In my opinion, it’s the best view of the park. You are up close and personal with views of the canyon. I mean it’s named after an exclamation mark! At Exclamation Point there is one big lollipop trail, so it doesn’t matter which direction you choose at Exclamation Point. They will both lead back to the main trail.
There is another Overlook that is worth a short stop. It’s just called Overlook which seems boring compared to Exclamation Point. Maybe it will be named after another punctuation mark like a question mark or quotation mark.
As you head back to the North Vista Trail, the paths get sandy and muddy. It’s not a hike I would be likely to do after a lot of rain.
Somewhere between 3.25-3.6, the trail begins to incline, and there are switchbacks. This is the steepest part of the path and where most of the 800 feet of elevation are gained. Once you reach the top, the trail circles the Summit of Green Mountain. I kept thinking, “are we there yet,” only to realize we were doing another lollipop and you have 360 degrees of views of Black Canyon and Green Mountain. It doesn’t have the same close-up feel of Exclamation Point, but you can see a good 50 miles over Gunnison State Park, Black Canyon, the San Juans, Gunnison River, and Green Mountain.
Then you head back the way you came. I would love to explore more trails in Gunnison National Park.
You Can See All Hikes Here.
Questions for you:
Have you ever been to Gunnison National Park?
What is one of your favorite hikes?