Inner Canyon Use

While some may be satisfied with peering into Black Canyon from the rim, others seek the rugged experience of venturing into its depths. Exploring the inner canyon is a rewarding adventure like no other, but requires skill, experience, and preparation to be successful. The inner canyon is also a designated wilderness area and requires a permit to enter.

Be Prepared

Inner canyon activities are located in remote areas. Any rescue operation within the park is difficult and requires extended periods of time. Park visitors should carry the equipment necessary to endure an unexpected night in the wilderness. Each activity will require different essentials, but a good list to keep in mind in any wilderness area is:

  • Valid wilderness permit
  • Water and food
  • Layers and rain gear
  • Map, compass (GPS devices often don’t work in the canyon)
  • First aid kit
  • Sun protection
  • Flashlight or Headlamp

How to get a Wilderness Permit:

Permits are required for all inner canyon and wilderness use - both day and overnight trips. Permits are available at the South Rim Visitor Center and North Rim Ranger Station; there are permit self-registration kiosks with instructions when these facilities are closed. Be sure to thoroughly complete the permit with accurate and legible information. Permits are:

  • Free
  • Must be obtained on the day of your activity (no reservations)
  • Distributed on a first-come, first-served basis
  • Limited numbers of permits per day

When you have finished your trip, check out with a ranger or, if the building is closed, place your permit in the self-registration box to “check out” of the inner canyon. Warning: inner canyon users without a permit may be cited and/or fined.

Wilderness Regulations

Know before you go!


Last updated: October 26, 2019

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Mailing Address:

102 Elk Creek
Gunnison, CO 81230


(970) 641-2337 x205

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