If you would like to read more from our entire week in the San Juan Mountains please check out our separate blog post HERE!
Before heading to the park, I did some research on trails down into the canyon. I found that the Tomichi Trail is the shortest way to the Gunnison River via the south rim. Since we were going after work, our time was limited, so the Tomichi Trail seemed like our best option. Once we closed our work laptops, we hopped in the car and headed for the park!
It didn't take us long to discover that we needed a permit to hike all the way to the bottom. We were forced to turn back around, but our dog, Maria, was happy to get off the steep, rocky trail. Sadly, our goal to get to the Gunnison River would have to wait for another trip.
Once we got back in the car, we chose to drive down the South Rim Road and pull off at every viewpoint we saw. If we weren't going to be able to walk to the bottom, we were determined to see it from every available angle!
The next few stops were Rock Point, Devils Lookout, and Chasm View. Each stop has its own unique set of short and rocky trails surrounded by scruffy bushes and short, gnarly trees. Our dog, Maria, enjoyed trying to chase ground squirrels and other unseen critters through the brush, and Taylor and I enjoyed seeing the canyon from all different perspectives. Once we’d visited each of these points, we came to the most popular stop on the South Rim Road, The Painted Wall.
The Painted Wall was our last stop for the day, and as we were gazing at the natural wonder, I remembered that the visitors center was offering a guided geology hiking tour the next day, so I decided I had to come back to learn more!
It was the most educational and fun hour I had spent with a group inside a national park. Not only was our guide really entertaining, he was super knowledgeable. I only asked one question that stumped him, and it was about the flowers not the rocks!
He spent the hour explaining to us how the canyon was formed, pointing out all the different types of rocks, and describing how the canyon might look millions of years from now. I had never taken one of the National Parks’ offered ranger experiences, but after how much I learned from this one, I will always try to make time for one when I’m inside a park from now on.
When the tour ended and we were back at the visitors center, I was sad to be leaving. I still had so many questions and there was so much more to see, but I had to leave and meet back up with John who had to work instead of joining me on the tour. All I could think about while I was leaving was how this is truly a place I cannot wait to come back and explore more.
If you want to see more from inside the National Park please watch my video below!
Talkin' 'bout Tacos:
I'm Taylor, aka Tacos! I am sharing my journeys and experiences from across the world hoping to inspire travel and adventure in all who read!