Chasm View Nature Trail | Black Canyon

Chasm View Nature Trail is a short, flat, easy rim trail on the North Rim of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. This trail is appropriate for most hikers, and there is an interesting brochure with ten points of interest along the half-mile loop. There are a few stairs, so this trail is not wheel accessible.

Where to find the Trailhead

To access Chasm View Nature Trail, drive past the ranger station (which is rarely open) and continue to the campground. If you are visiting only the south rim, which most people do, you won’t have access to this trail unless you take a nearly two hour drive to the north rim of Black Canyon. Drive through the campground loop counter-clockwise as it’s a one-way road. At the end of the loop, you’ll find a sign for Chasm View and a very small parking area. The trail begins there.

The trail begins at this sign.

Make sure to take (and return) the brochure from the trailhead box. This brochure explains some details of the canyon and some of the flora in the area. Take the trail slowly and read at each of the sign posts. It’s only a short walk, and if you read as you walk, you miss the spectacular vista of Black Canyon.

We liked learning about the park with the nature guide.


Within 100 meters of the trailhead, you come to a view of the canyon. It is a massive, deep gash that looks like it was cut with a knife. Far below, you can see the river hasten down the canyon. Honestly, it’s indescribable how deep and steep this canyon is. Not only that, the canyon is not very photogenic. It’s nearly impossible to get an angle on the canyon, and pictures don’t do it justice.

The first part of the trail is flat and easy.
This is the first look into the canyon.
There are guard rails and you can see across to the south rim.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison is steep, narrow, and impressive.

From your first view of the rim, the Chasm View nature trail loops around to your left (counter-clockwise) as it parallels the canyon for a short distance. There are a few more checkpoints for the brochure along the way as you loop back to the car.

The trail continues on to another viewpoint.
You can get a better look at the Gunnison River at this point.
Then the trail heads back to the parking area.

The total distance for this trail is 0.5 mile roundtrip. There is a little bit of elevation change, and a bit of a rocky path, but this trail is simple and easy. Chasm View Nature Trail is a must-do on the north rim of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park for families. Check out our full guide to this national park here.

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