At the farthest easterly reaches of South Rim Road, Warner Point Nature Trail is a short interpretive trail showcasing the Black Canyon of the Gunnison’s ecosystem, terrain, and history. It is named for Mark Warner, an Ohio man who moved to western Colorado in 1917 to preside over Montrose Presbyterian Church. Among those who are cited for the preservation of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Mark Warner’s name is most prominent.
The trail that bears his name showcases the finest of the Black Canyon. Although short, it skirts the south rim to Warner Point, which bears one of the widest views of the canyon, extending to the Painted Wall to the east and along the Gunnison’s gradual descent to the plateau to the west. Along the way, interpretive signs and an informational pamphlet, of which there is abundant supply, provide interesting facts and quotes about the Black Canyon, the juniper and pinyon pines, the fire-scarred landscape, and the Gunnison River. Just as striking as the views of the canyon itself, the Montrose valley and verdant fields extend just a few miles away to the San Juan Mountains in the distance—arguably the most rugged, beautiful range in Colorado.
A little less than a mile one-way, the Warner Point Nature Trail packs a lot in to its short distance, and visitors to the south rim should make it a point to stop here and learn about the Black Canyon’s unique wilderness.
Note: In addition to the interpretive trail, Warner Point Nature Trail provides backcountry access to the Warner Route, a much longer access route to the canyon floor. Backcountry permits are required, and are available at no cost at the South Rim Visitor Center.