The South Rim Road is open to the Visitor Center, but the remainder of the road is closed to allow for cross country skiing and snowshoeing. The North Rim and East Portal Roads are closed for the season.
Schists are strongly foliated, and look like a stack of paper. Some of the best places to see schist are among the spires at Gunnison Point or Kneeling Camel View. The Great Pillars, seen here, are among the largest examples of schist in the canyon. The main difference between schist and gneiss is the thickness of their internal layers, known as lamellae (pronounced "la MEL lee"). Gneiss has thick lamellae and schist have very thin, fine layers.
There are two kinds of schists found in the canyon, either a mica-rich schist, that has a lot of biotite and muscovite mica, or a schist rich in hornblende, a type of mineral called amphibole. A zone of schist crosses the canyon between Gunnison Point and Pulpit Rock Overlook. Rare minerals such as garnets, sillimanite, staurolite or andalusite can be common in places.
Did You Know?
Before the creation of 3 dams upstream of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, the Gunnison River was as much as 5 times more powerful than it is today.