Friday, June 16, 2017

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

The whole reason for our trip to Western Colorado was to check out the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.When we first moved to Colorado I found a picture of it on Instagram and showed it to Drew, he instantly fell in love and we've been trying to plan a trip over ever since.

This trip was planned before we found out I was pregnant, so as it got closer we had to tweak it. Luckily this is another Park that you could drive to all the different locations and didn't have to hike, if you didn't want to. Drew always wants to hike.

There are unmaintained hiking trails on the north and south rims of the canyon, which take about two hours to hike down, and four hours to hike back up. All inner canyon descents are strenuous and require Class 3 climbing and basic route finding skills., plus an official permit. 

From the entrance it is a 7-mile drive has 12 overlooks to test your fear of heights. A lot of the overlooks require walking a short trail but nothing difficult. The last point of interest is Warner Point Trail, and that's where we started from.

According to every single person who's ever been to the park, there is no better way to see the park than to hike a trail. There are a handful of trails that take you to spectacular overlooks. But we soon realized that I wouldn't be able to hike anything major. So Drew looked up the different hikes in the Black Canyon and found Warner Point Nature Trail.

It's said to be an easy grade hike (he also said that about the Pulpit Rock in Norway--he lied) But after reading many reviews, it said that it was a very family friendly hike, and that people toddlers were able to do the hike. The hike it self isn't bad. But the elevation is what killed me! Be prepared for that! 


Although the hike itself wasn’t exciting, but the views at the end were worth it! The only bummer was that this is the ONLY trail where dogs aren't allowed. But, we had come all the way with Rylie, and we weren't about to leave her in the car-so we took her with us. Luckily she was a very good girl and lots of people just wanted to pet her! haha

The park contains 12 miles of the 48-mile long Black Canyon of the Gunnison River. The national park itself contains the deepest and most dramatic section of the canyon, but the canyon continues upstream into Curecanti National Recreation Area and downstream into Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area.

From Warner Point we drove back stopping at all the little look outs. There were a couple that I just stayed in the car for, the 3 mile hike definitely wore me out! But Drew was able to get some great photos.

The most famous "look out" is the Painted Wall. It was the busiest, but definitley the most impressive. If you only have the chance to check out one, This is the one you need to check out.

By the time we had gotten back the visitor center I was starving and ready to have lunch. We packed a picnic and decided we would eat when we made it down to East Portal Road, since it was near the river. It was totally worth the wait. Almost every look out point had a picnic area, but this was the only one next to the river. You literally go down into the canyon.

The East Portal Road gives you access to the river. Keep in mind that it is extremely steep (16%) with hairpin turns. They don’t allow vehicles over 22 ft. You are literally riding your brakes the whole way down. I could smell our brakes when we got down to the bottom.  Don’t forget to check to see if it’s open, since they close the road during winter.

It was a beautiful day, and an amazing trip. If you ever get the chance make sure to stop by the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, you won't regret it!

Here is Drew's video of our day there! 

Interesting Facts:

  • Parts of the canyon only receive a little over 30 minutes of sunlight a day. (Hence it's name)
  • The Gunnison River is the 5th steepest mountain descent river in North America. 
  • At its narrowest point, the canyon is only 40 feet wide at the river.
  • Painted Wall is the tallest sheer cliff in Colorado at 2,250 feet.

Friday, June 09, 2017

Colorado National Monument, CO

Over Memorial Day Weekend, we headed off to Western Colorado. The purpose of this trip was to head to Montrose and the Gunnison National Park. Unfortunately when we started looking I couldn't find any place to stay. So we decided to check out Grand Junction. When I Googled Grand Junction, Colorado National Monument was the major attraction there.

Drew and I love the National Parks Services! Our new goal is to see at least one in every state!

Colorado National Monument preserves one of the grand landscapes of the American West. But this treasure is much more than a monument. Even though it's small, this 31-square mile reserve boasts a concentrated version of Colorado's redrock expanses, deep canyons and sandstone towers that draw millions to the more popular parks in nearby southern Utah. Best of all, since it sees much less traffic, it's easy to have most of the monument to yourself.

Colorado National Monument was established on May 24, 1911. It contains spectacular canyons cut deep into sandstone, granite–gneiss–schist, rock formations, and extensive areas of igneous rock. It is an area of desert land high on the Colorado Plateau, with pinion and juniper forests. It hosts a wide range of wildlife, including red-tailed hawks, golden eagles, ravens, jays, desert bighorn sheep, and coyotes. Standing on the canyon rim, you can identify over 1.5 billion years of geologic history in nine distinct rock formations that remain neatly arranged by age.

We started off at the North entrance in Fruita, you could enter the park in Grand Junction, but since we were headed South after words, we decided it was a better idea to go North to South, instead of South to North, than back down South. If you are an avid hiker you could hike the whole canyon. I hear it's better to start off in Grand Junction if that is your plan.

If you're not an avid hiker- and more like me who would've love to stay in the hotel's hot tub for most of the day. You can take a beautiful drive through the National Monument. I've read books and articles calling it Colorado's "Grand Canyon". It is one of the most spectacular places I have ever seen. Although the Grand Canyon is more impressive.

Unlike the Grand Canyon, you are able to drive through it, and have amazing views while driving. There are many over-looks that allow you to jump off the "busy" road so you can take pictures. make sure you clear your camera memory. I had forgotten to do it and was so mad when I ran out of room. Luckily I had already moved the older pics over so I didn't feel bad deleting them.

This was the perfect little trip to take. At the time I was still in my first Trimester and had little to no energy, so we took it easy. We ventured off the "path" for a bit, so we could get some cute pictures, and let Rylie work out some energy. Did I mention it's pet friendly too? National Parks are amazing because of that!

Because the monument is open year round, there is always something to do. Whether it be nice hikes through the park, enjoying scenery and wildlife on a nice drive. Cross-country ski during the winter. Or rock climb in the beautiful summer. No matter the group you are with, the season you visit, or your interests, Colorado National Monument has something for you.

1750 Rim Rock Drive, Fruita, CO 81521
Pets allowed on Paved trails only
Cost: $15 per vehicles / Free with NPS Pass

Tuesday, June 06, 2017


Back in February, I shared where we were in our infertility journey. It's been a rocky road, Four years to be exact but I am so happy to share, that come December, we will have a new adventure seeker joining us on our travels! 

We are so excited for this little miracle and can't wait to see where these next year takes us! <3