Date of Visit: July 8, 2015
How we got there: Took the scenic route from Moab, Utah, using Utah Hwy 46 and Colorado Hwy 90. About 3.5 hours.
Lodging: We ended our day at the Grand Junction Palomino Inn, but there is also lodging much closer to the park.
- Oak Flat Trail – 2-mile loop trail that begins at the visitor center and passes through forested slopes and dips below the canyon rim.
- South Rim Road and viewpoints – The 7-mile scenic drive has 12 canyon overlooks, mostly accessible by short trails. Our favorites were Gunnison Point (at the visitor center), Pulpit Rock, Painted Wall View and Devil’s Lookout.
- Gunnison Diversion Dam – Drive down the extremely steep and twisty East Portal Road to reach the canyon floor at the site of the dam built to divert water to the Uncompahgre Valley for agricultural use.
Tips: No marked trails lead to the canyon bottom as it’s extremely difficult and not recommended for most people.
Next time: Visit the more remote North Rim of the park. It’s only a few hundred yards across from the south rim, but takes 2 hours to get there by car. Hike the North Vista Trail. Hike to Warner Point (lightning stopped us from making the short hike on our visit.)