We like to round up hikes for the kids in each national park we visit. We want to give you an easy guide for hikes that you can do as a family when you visit. Black Canyon of the Gunnison has a variety of hikes located on both the north and south rims. Make sure to note which rim each hike is on, as many people choose to visit only the more popular south rim. Use our list of Black Canyon of the Gunnison Kid Hikes to help plan your visit to this national park.
We did spot a bear in the thick trees at Black Canyon of the Gunnison. We were within twenty feet of him before we saw him, so we immediately made some noise and backed slowly away to a safe distance. (Read about it here.) Be bear aware and make sure to take your bear spray if you plan to spend a lot of time hiking!
South Rim Family-Friendly Hikes
This trail runs from the campground on the south rim up to the Visitor Center. It is one mile each way if you shuttle it, but we found it much better to combine Rim Rock Trail with the Uplands Trail. The Rim Rock trail walks along the rim and offers great views of the Black Canyon.
Uplands Trail forms a loop with Rim Rock Nature Trail, and can be easily combined. The distance for both trails combined is just two miles. It starts at the South Rim Visitor Center and ends in a T at Rim Rock Trail. The Uplands Trail walks through some meadows and brush and offers better chances for spotting wildlife.
Oak Flat Loop is a moderate trail that drops below the rim of Black Canyon. It allows you to get down into the canyon without a back-country permit, but it is steep. The distance is easily manageable at just 2 miles with lots of breaks. It loops from the South Rim Visitor Center. We were unable to complete this trail due to a bear in the way!
This one isn’t really a hike, but it’s listed on park literature that way. Instead, its a short walk of just a half mile roundtrip to an overlook on the south rim. The thing that sets it apart from other overlooks is that there are signs along the way telling about the plants in the area.
All the way at the end of the road on the south rim, there is a small parking lot for the Warner Point Nature Trail. Make sure to pick up a trail brochure before embarking on this 1.5 mile roundtrip trail. It leads to an awesome overlook for Black Canyon.
North Rim Family-Friendly Hikes
We hiked the North Vista Trail to Exclamation Point, which is a beautiful overlook on the north rim. The trail was flat and easy, though the three mile walk doesn’t get a lot of shade on a hot day. The trail continues all the way to Green Mountain, but that’s a seven mile hike. Although this was the longest trail we hiked, it is our favorite Black Canyon of the Gunnison Kid Hike.
This is another brochure trail, but it runs only about a third of a mile. It’s a must-do walk if you visit the north rim. It starts right in the campground and has almost no elevation change, and offers some amazing views.
Hopefully our Black Canyon of the Gunnison Kid Hikes list will help you plan an amazing trip to Black Canyon. We have written a full post about this national park with some tips on how we spent our time visiting. You can check out more information on our Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park Guide.