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Green Mountain Trail + Exclamation Point

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Sawatch Range + Elk Mountains, Colorado

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Green Mountain Trail + Exclamation Point

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  • The Green Mountain Trailhead.- Green Mountain Trail + Exclamation Point
  • The trail to Green Mountain begins at the ranger station on the north rim.- Green Mountain Trail + Exclamation Point
  • The Black Canyon of the Gunnison along the Green Mountain Trail.- Green Mountain Trail + Exclamation Point
  • Sheer cliff faces at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison along the Green Mountain Trail.- Green Mountain Trail + Exclamation Point
  • The view into the Black Canyon of the Gunnison from Exclamation Point along the Green Mountain Trail.- Green Mountain Trail + Exclamation Point
  • The view into the Black Canyon of the Gunnison from Exclamation Point along the Green Mountain Trail.- Green Mountain Trail + Exclamation Point
  • Shrubbery along the Green Mountain Trail in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.- Green Mountain Trail + Exclamation Point
  • Juniper along the Green Mountain Trail in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.- Green Mountain Trail + Exclamation Point
  • The Black Canyon of the Gunnison seen from the summit of Green Mountain.- Green Mountain Trail + Exclamation Point
  • Wildflowers (help us identify it by providing feedback) along the Green Mountain Trail in Black Canyon.- Green Mountain Trail + Exclamation Point
  • The Black Canyon of the Gunnison seen from the summit of Green Mountain.- Green Mountain Trail + Exclamation Point
  • White morning glory.- Green Mountain Trail + Exclamation Point
  • The Black Canyon of the Gunnison seen from the Green Mountain Trail.- Green Mountain Trail + Exclamation Point
  • Looking south toward a prominence on the north rim, where the North Rim Campground is perched.- Green Mountain Trail + Exclamation Point
  • An informal overlook along the Green Mountain Trail over the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.- Green Mountain Trail + Exclamation Point
  • The spur for Exclamation Point along the Green Mountain Trail.- Green Mountain Trail + Exclamation Point
  • Fallen foliage along the Green Mountain Trail.- Green Mountain Trail + Exclamation Point
  • The ascent to the summit of Green Mountain begins at a set of stairs near its base.- Green Mountain Trail + Exclamation Point
  • Long views of the country to the west of the Green Mountain summit.- Green Mountain Trail + Exclamation Point
  • Long views of the country to the west of the Green Mountain summit.- Green Mountain Trail + Exclamation Point
  • - Green Mountain Trail + Exclamation Point
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Views of the Black Canyon and surrounding country.
Cons: 
None.
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Region:
Sawatch Range + Elk Mountains, CO
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
No
Net Elevation Gain: 
833.00 ft (253.90 m)
Parking Pass: 
National Park Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Summer
Total Distance: 
7.80 mi (12.55 km)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
7,730.00 ft (2,356.10 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

There are very few legitimate hiking trails in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, and those that do exist are either extremely short or extremely steep. The trail to Green Mountain is one of two exceptions to that rule on the north rim, and it is more popular than its counterpart, Deadhorse Trail, on the east side of the park. This is primarily due to the the overlook at Exclamation Point and the wide views of the canyon and surrounding countryside at Green Mountain.

The Black Canyon of the Gunnison is not a hiker’s park. That being said, Green Mountain showcases the best of the canyon that can be seen from its rim. The trail rolls gently from the North Rim Ranger Station, descending through a scrub forest of juniper, mountain mahogany, and Douglas fir. Even in the fall there are splashes of wildflowers along the trail. At approximately 0.75 miles into the hike an informal overlook opens over the canyon toward a prominence to the south on which the North Rim Campground is perched.

In another half mile, take the spur for Exclamation Point and soak in vertiginous views of the canyon, the canyon floor, and the Gunnison River. This is one of the best vantage points in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, and it can be a real challenge to photograph. Pick your poison: sunrise and sunset photographers will find the deepest parts of the canyon in shadow, and those shooting in the middle of the day will be plagued by the high contrasts that accompany the mid-day light.

Green Mountain is roughly 2 unremarkable miles from Exclamation Point, and while the hike there is relatively uneventful with the exception of the short ascent of the mountain itself, it does provide a unique vantage point of the canyon in its own right. Extending to the east like a giant tear in the earth, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison appears, from the summit of Green Mountain, like the hands of nature gripped the San Juan and Sawatch mountain ranges and pulled. The close proximity of its north and south rims are obvious here; the canyon floor is hidden from view, deep below.

The hike to Green Mountain is a long way to go for an awe-inspiring view of the canyon, especially with so many overlooks along North Rim Road. Hikers who venture there, however, will find themselves awed anew, and everyone else will find a very rewarding trail run.

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Nearby Camping + Lodging

(5 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(8 within a 30 mile radius)

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