Western Coloradoís Black Canyon of the Gunnison is one of the narrowest and deepest canyons in the United States, in some places as little as 40 feet across at water level, with a maximum depth of 2,700 feet. The jagged 53-mile-long canyon was carved over 2 million years by the relentless erosive action of the Gunnison River. The river descends an average of 95 feet per mile, making this one of the steepest gorges in North America. The national park encompases 12 miles of the canyon's length. Shrub lands of serviceberry and Gambelís Oak are cut with side canyons forested with Douglas Fir and some aspens. There is fine birding in the area. The Warner Point Trail may yield sightings of Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Cooperís Hawks, and a soaring Golden Eagle. White-throated Swifts, Broad-tailed Hummingbirds, scrub jays, Green-tailed Towhees, and rare Peregrine Falcons make their homes here along the canyon cliffs. Mule Deer, porcupines, badgers, Bobcats, and marmots are resident mammals. Hardy individuals can obtain a backcountry permit and hike into the canyon to explore along the river.
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