Hiking to the river in Black Canyon National Park

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Hiking to the river in Black Canyon National Park

Postby Wisco » Tue Jul 31, 2007 8:37 am

Has anyone done one of the hikes down into the Black Canyon? How does it compare to hiking up 14ers? The route descriptions on the National Park website describe a lot of dangerous cliffs and loose rock etc.. I'm thinking of heading to the park and climbing the canyon as an alternative to hiking up mountains.
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Postby summitrunner » Tue Jul 31, 2007 8:49 am

I highly recommend this trip. I have to go back because I was rained out last Friday. Here is a map. I didn't get to hike much of it but I will be going back to hike it in the near future!
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Postby 12ersRule » Tue Jul 31, 2007 9:17 am

I have hiked the "Gunnison route" down to the river from the visitors center. I highly recommend it! Very scenic. With the steepness (the last mile probably has about 1400 feet of elevation change) and the loose rock, you need to be careful, but if you're fit enough to hike 14ers, you should be able to handle this one.

My wife, who doesn't do 14ers, hiked this with me. It was a really good workout for her, but she didn't have too many problems overall.

Get to the visitors center early to get your permit! They limit the number of people on the route.

It's a great hike. Have fun!
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Postby mbsteve1 » Tue Jul 31, 2007 9:26 am

I hiked from the north rim to the bottom over '07 Memorial Day weekend via S.O.B. Draw. We camped along the river. It was a spectacular hike and we didn't see a single person on the way down or a the bottom. We ran into a few climbers on our way out.

http://www.nps.gov/blca/planyourvisit/h ... canyon.htm

It took about two hours each way with packs and camping gear. The poison ivy was already pretty thick that weekend and required a lot of careful hiking at the bottom. I'm sure it'll be an even bigger issue this time of year.

The hike down the draw requires constant scrambling and route finding, though there are some cairns. The entire route consists of scrambling that might be about comparable to the final scramble at the top of Mt. Harvard.

The climb out is quite a bit easier on the knees...

Get a permit and know that the poison ivy will probably be a real problem this time of year. The rangers at the station are really helpful, but they'll probably do everything they can to dissuade you from making the trip.

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