The South Rim Campground in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is the largest and most comfortable of the three Black Canyon campgrounds. Generally speaking, the south rim is far more developed than the north rim, and likewise, the South Rim Campground is far more accessible than East Portal, which sits on the canyon floor at the bottom of East Portal Road’s 5-mile, 16% grade. For RV campers, it is the only campground that makes logical sense, as the North Rim Campground isn’t suitable for RV’s longer than 35 feet and requires a two-hour drive around the massive expanse of the canyon.
It is a large and busy campground, but one ideally placed for hiking and fishing excursions along the South Rim. The campground sprawls over three loops and features 88 sites, including Loop B’s sites with electrical hookups. Many of its sites are available by reservations made at least three days in advance, although Loop C features only first-come, first-served sites. Each site features a fire ring and a picnic table, and bear lockers are dispersed throughout the campground for the safekeeping of food. Potable water is available between May and October. An amphitheater near the campground entrance offers ranger programs during the high season.
Located near the visitor center on the south rim, three short trails lead from the campground to the center and along lookouts of the south rim, including Uplands Trail, which leads to Oak Flat Trail and Gunnison Point, and Rim Rock Trail, the most direct route to the visitor center.
The best sites at the South Rim Campground are along Loop C’s northernmost outer edge. Sites here are well shaded, and many of them actually extend far from the road, giving them a relatively private and remote feel for a campground so close to the busiest part of the Black Canyon. Campers shouldn’t hesitate to use the extra space to their advantage.
Note: Generator use is not allowed in South Rim Campground. The nightly fee for hookup sites in Loop B is $22.00. In Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, pets on leash may be walked on roads, in campgrounds, to the overlooks, and are allowed on the Rim Rock Trail, Cedar Point Nature Trail, and North Rim Chasm View Nature Trail. Pets are not allowed on any other hiking trails, inner canyon routes or in the wilderness area.