Winter at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP

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“Winter at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park offers both unique experiences and wilderness solitude. The snowy landscape contrasts drastically with the dark colors of the rock, creating dramatic scenes very different from those seen in other seasons. Visiting the canyon in winter also offers different opportunities ranging from self-exploration, to ranger-guided programs. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are spectacular ways to explore the winter environment.

Things To Do:
Skiing and snowshoeing are great ways to begin your adventure. The trails are open 24 hours a day..
The visitor center is open 9 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily except Christmas Day and Thanksgiving. Rangers offer guided snowshoe walks on weekends (starting January 11, 2017), full moon snowshoe walks, and astronomy programs throughout the winter. Check the visitor center or park website for a program schedule (
Trail etiquette:
• Stay on your trail; do not walk in ski tracks. Observe the signs on the South Rim Ski and Snowshoe Trail.
• Pets are allowed on the Rim Rock Trail and Gunnison overlook only, and must be on a leash. Pets are not permitted on the South Rim Ski and Snowshoe Trail.
• Snowbikes are not permitted on any trails.

Are You Prepared? 
Weather at the canyon changes rapidly. Lack of experience, a moment of carelessness, or being unprepared, can turn a fun outing into a dangerous situation. Observe the following easy steps:
• Bring plenty of water and food, as well as sunglasses, sunscreen, first aid kit, map, compass, emergency blanket, extra socks and gloves.
• When possible, travel with a companion.
• Always tell someone your plans and when to expect you back.
• Wear adequate clothing. Layering is important. Wool and synthetics will keep you warmer and drier than cotton.

Hypothermia Awareness:
Hypothermia is a serious threat that even cool (above freezing) temperatures can bring on. It is important to stay dry and know your own limits. Use common sense and be cautious. Know the symptoms; they can range from uncontrolled shivering, through drowsiness, extreme lack of coordination to slowed breathing or heart rate.
When someone shows one or more signs:
•  Get the victim to a dry, sheltered place.
•  Remove wet clothing and replace with dry, warm clothing and/or blankets.
•  If the victim is conscious, slowly give warm, not hot, non-alcoholic drinks. Transport to a medical facility as soon as possible.

Pets and Wildlife:
Wildlife watching in the winter can be as enjoyable as it is in the summer. Although they may not always be seen, mule deer, elk, squirrels, rabbits, ermine (weasels), eagles, and bobcats are all active in the park.

As summer and fall food sources become scarce, animals have to adapt to survive. Watching wildlife from a distance and respecting regulations for pets, can prevent us from adding extra stress on the wildlife. ”

Check trail and weather conditions:
(970)249-1914 ext: 423

Information courtesy of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.
Winter 2016-2017 Ranger Led Programs
Black Canyon of the Gunnison Winter Bulliten 2016-2017

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