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Black Canyon of the Gunnison owes its name to the fact that its gorge only receives 33 minutes of sunlight each day. It is not as massive as the Grand Canyon, nor as deep. It is very narrow and its walls are the steepest of all the canyons I have ever seen.

There is no way to hike down from the rim to the bottom. One could drive down a steep road, with a 16% grade, to the east end of the canyon, but there is no trail there to hike into the canyon. So we confined our visit to driving on the south rim and we hiked short trails to 12 overlooks to take pictures.

Looking at North Rim from the South Rim at Black Canyon.

Looking at North Rim from the South Rim at Black Canyon.

The Gunnison river flowing through Black Canyon.

The Gunnison river flowing through Black Canyon.

Another view of Black Canyon's gorge.

Another view of Black Canyon’s gorge.

Painted Wall, the tallest cliff in Black Canyon.

Painted Wall, the tallest cliff in Black Canyon.

The patterns in the above photo look to me like giant petroglyphs carved by nature. However, they were created a billion years ago when molten lava inserted itself into cracks in the pre-existing rocks. It then cooled and became like 3-dimensional paintings.

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