The North Rim of the Black Canyon – One of the Best Kept Secrets of Southwest Colorado!
Often, I am asked what I would do if I just had a couple of days to explore the area, and the answer is difficult at best. After over 20 years, I am still finding new adventures, and the list of things to do and see grows daily.
Recently, on a rainy spring morning, we went in search of sunshine and a new, interesting hike. We decided to go to the Black Canyon, one of the most awesome places in the area. I had been to the South Rim of the Black Canyon several times, and it is indeed spectacular. I had not, however explored the North Rim, which is a little further from Ouray, and so the decision was made. Every time I visit the Black Canyon, as with so many places in Southwest Colorado, I am amazed at the beauty of Colorado, and its many secret places.
The drive to the North Rim takes a couple of hours, which might be dull if it were anywhere else. Take 550 North to Delta, the right onto Hwy 92, and travel through beautiful wine and farmland until you reach Crawford. From here, the trail looks deceptive until one last curve opens to the first view of the canyon.
Stopping at the overlook, you can see across the awesome walls of the canyon below, and almost wave to explorers standing on the South RIm.
It is a humbling sight, looking deep into a crack in the earth to the roaring river far below.
After exploring the rim for a while, we exited the park, turning East again onto Hwy 92, and traveling toward Blue Mesa to the Curecanti Recreational Area.
Here, we decided to hike the Curecanti Creek Trail, down to the Morrow Point Reservoir. The trail is a bit steep in places, but the views are absolutely awesome, well worth the workout.
Traveling back toward Montrose, we stopped and checked out the trail head to the Morrow Point Boat Tour, promising to return another time, then again in Cimarron, where we stood at the base of the Morrow Point Dam, and checked out the Cimarron Rail Exhibit; a true example of the accomplishments of early America.
Back in Montrose, we headed South on Highway 550 back to Ouray, a long soak in the hot springs at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs, and an amazing dinner in town – all the while marveling to each other at all of the wondrous things we had seen in such close proximity to home.
The entire adventure took about eight hours, including about 3 1/2 hours to hike to the bottom of the canyon and back out, a perfect day trip from Ouray!