South Rim Campground, located at 8,320 feet in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, offers 88 campsites in three loops in a dense scrub oak forest above the cliff-walled gorge. The campground is quiet and remote, with almost no cell service and plenty of wildlife, including mule deer and black bears. The sites in Loops A and B are available by reservation, while Loop C is on a first-come, first-served basis. Loop A is open year-round, with limited facilities in winter. Loop B is the best one for RVs and trailers with both pull-through and back-in sites and electrical hookups in summer. Sites A21 and B21 are handicap accessible. Each loop has a vault toilet and water from mid-May to mid-October. Water is trucked to the campground so don’t waste water or fill RV tanks. Sites have a picnic table, fire grate, and a bear box, which must be used to store all food and scented products. Locking bear-proof trash dumpsters are located by the entrance to Loop A.
- The campground is on the South Rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison east of Montrose. Reach the campground by driving east from Montrose on U.S. 50 for about 10 miles. Turn left or north on Colorado Highway 347 and drive seven miles to the park entrance. South Rim Campground is on the right just past the entrance station.
- Make site reservations at least three days in advance for Loops A and B. Electrical hookups (30 amp) are available for 23 sites in Loop B. Generator use is not allowed. Most sites are for tents or RVs and trailers shorter than 25 feet. Other sites can accommodate units from 26 to 39 feet in length, and a limited number of sites for larger units. The paved loop roads are narrow and most sites are back-ins.
- Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park protects one of Colorado’s most spectacular natural wonders. The popular South Rim Drive runs eight miles from the campground to its end at High Point. Stop at 12 overlooks along the way, including Chasm View, Dragon Point, and Sunset View, for scenic views. Hike short trails to most of the viewpoints. Also stop at the South Rim Visitor Center for exhibits about the canyon’s geology and natural history.
- There’s plenty to do at South Rim Campground. Keep your eyes open for wildlife, including deer, bears, raccoons, foxes, and birds. Rim Rock Nature Trail follows the canyon rim for one mile from Loop C to the Visitor Center. Dogs are welcome on it but must be leashed. Interesting campfire programs are held nightly by rangers at the campground through the summer. Check the kiosk at the pay station for the time and subject of the presentation.
Recommended season(s): Year-round.
—Stewart M. Green