Inner Canyon Wilderness 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 portions of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison Wilderness Area. 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 Use 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 Use Permit:

Permits are required for all inner canyon wilderness use - both day and overnight trips. Permits are available at the South Rim Visitor Center and North Rim Ranger Station.

North Rim permits are:

  • Free
  • Must be obtained on the day of your activity (no reservations)
  • There is a permit self-registration kiosk with instructions when the ranger station is closed. Be sure to thoroughly complete the permit with accurate and legible information.
  • 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.


South Rim permits are:

  • Free
  • Climbers and kayakers must obtain their permit on the day of their adventure. There are permit self-registration kiosks with instructions when the visitor center is closed. Be sure to thoroughly complete the permit with accurate and legible information.
  • Hikers on Tomichi, Gunnison, and Warner Routes may obtain their permit at the South Rim Visitor Center 1.5 hours before closing the day before the trip or during visitor center hours on the day of the hike. There is no self-registration permitted on these routes.
  • 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: August 18, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

102 Elk Creek
Gunnison, CO 81230

Phone:

(970) 641-2337 x205

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