One turn at a time reaches the bottom

The East Portal Road drops steeply where it leaves the south rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, offering access to the Gunnison River and Crystal Dam. Really, it’s 16 percent grade.

Nothing like a few switchbacks in life, eh?

Just in case you haven’t had enough recently, the East Portal Road opened Friday.

Oh, yes, that East Portal Road.

The wiggly, squiggly stripe of asphalt dropping off the south rim of the Black Canyon and ending someplace between your toes, only 1,500 feet lower.

It’s open, unless, of course, it’s closed by weather, rockslides or one of Mother Nature’s whimsical moods.

Along the way you may see spruce grouse dancing, deer frolicking and blue birds whirling.

But watch the road. All those switchbacks, you know.

WHAT: The East Portal Road, offering access to the Gunnison River and the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

WHERE: Inside the south entrance station to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Colorado Highway 347, about eight miles east of Montrose.

WHEN: The official word is the East Portal Road “will remain open throughout the summer and fall until snow, ice, or rockslides make it unsafe for travel.”


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