I try to visit the American Southwest as often as I can as the scenery is second to none. One area, the Grand Circle, boasts the largest concentration of national parks and monuments in the US. Located in the states of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and Utah, the Grand Circle is home to 12 national parks. Many of the parks are recognizable to everyone (Grand Canyon, Zion to name a couple) but there are a few that most people never heard of. One of those is the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. In fact, it only became a national park in 1999. The park is about 2 hours north of Durango, Colorado just outside of Montrose. To quote the National Park Service, "No other canyon in North America combines the narrow opening, sheer walls, and startling depths offered by the Black Canyon of the Gunnison." It is an extremely rugged landscape with the Gunnison River flowing at its depths. It is also a favorite destination of rock climbers.
We had driven about four and a half hours from Manitou Springs on our way to Montrose and reached the park pretty late in the day. The visitors center had just closed so we were left to ourselves to explore the 12 miles of scenic road in the park. The sun was beginning to set and the landscape was painted with shadows and light. It was a wonderful ending to a great day.