Sunday, March 11, 2018

Hiking in Colorado's Black Canyon

A former communications director for the Republican National Committee, Ryan Shucard serves as the vice president of media relations for SevenTwenty Strategies in Washington, D.C. Outside of his career as a public relations professional, Ryan Shucard enjoys outdoor activities. His love for the outdoors was sparked by the time he spent in his home state of Colorado.

Colorado offers spectacular outdoor opportunities that range from hiking to skiing. One lesser known destination for outdoor enthusiasts is Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Located in western Colorado, Black Canyon is famous for its depth and darkness, with some parts of the canyon receiving less than an hour of sunlight per day. 

Several trails enter the canyon. Because no one maintains the trails, however, you must first demonstrate your hiking capability to a ranger in order to receive a free permit to hike in the park. The unmarked trails require some scrambling through steep sections with loose boulders, making it difficult for those with mobility issues. The payoff, however, includes spectacular cliffs and some of the oldest rock formations in the country.

Trail options include the Oak Flat Loop Trail, a two-mile round-trip loop across the rim of the canyon, and the Class 3 Gunnison Route, the easiest trail down to the canyon floor.