Really great campground even without hookups!
The campground sits at the top of a “Mesa” so you get beautiful 360° views. The canyon itself offers great hiking experiences and if you aren’t up for that you can drive throughout the top of the canyon and get some incredible views that way as well. The black wall is beautiful and the amount of wildlife in the camp was surprising due to the larger than average amount of people present. Highly recommend this site and would visit again.
There are approximately 90 sites, split among 3 loops: - A: reservations (through recreation.gov)
B: reservations electric hookups
C: no reservations
Loops A and B have many more back in/pull in and pull through sites than loop C has. See photos for sites. Most sites in loop C are roadside for the vehicle/RV with a few pull through and back in sites; the sites are spacious.
In June, all sites in A and B were booked. There was plenty of room in C early in the afternoon but it filled up by evening. A rainy Saturday led to a half full loop C that evening. Based on the activity every morning in loop C, it looks like most people spend only one night in that loop. The Reserved signs in loop A and B indicated people with reservations are more likely to stay a few nights.
If the campground fills up, there is dispersed camping just outside the park on the right (as you drive out). It looked like a area that could accommodate several campers without being on top of each other.
There is no water at the sites, but a potable water station is available. There are vault toilets in each loop…kinda smelly but that's what you get with a vault toilet!
Each site has a picnic table, fire ring and bear-proof lockers. Due to fire danger, no fires are currently (June, 2018) allowed in the fire ring. The lockers are necessary if you don't want to store food in your locked car or RV. Mule deer are more of an issue than bears; they come right through the sites so I wouldn't leave anything out..for bears or deer. If you have a dog, there are very few areas where they are allowed at this time.
No generators are allowed in the campground. It's real camping!
Rim RockTrail and Uplands Trail (two mile roundtrip for each) lead to the visitor center from the campground. From the visitor center, the Oak Flat Loop is a 2 mile hike with some great views and a 400 foot drop in elevation (followed by a climb back to the visitor center). This "black" canyon is unique in terms of color and the shape and sheer steepness of the rocks.
If you want an adventure, there is a trail to the Gunnison River off Oak Flat Loop. It's a mile to the river from that point with about a 1,400 foot drop in elevation. The trail is not well marked and more difficult to find your way back. You need to get a permit at the visitor center for this area (and other areas within the canyon).
If you drive the South Rim Drive, there are plenty of overlooks along with some short walks (1/4 to 3/4 mile roundtrip). When the road ends, the Warner Point Trail is a 1.5 mile roundtrip.
East Portal Road (right turn just after entering the park) takes you to the Gunnison Diversion Dam and Crystal Dam, where the road ends. This will get you to the river and bottom of the canyon. There is another campground called East Portal with 15 sites with tent pads; some sites are walkin. Vehicles longer than 22 feet are prohibited on East Portal Road.
I seek out high places - they clear my mind and scare me just a little bit. Took a one night trip from Denver to stay at South Rim campground last night. Just the right things to do - a busy visitor's center, where you can practice talking to people and get local answers instead of checking your phone (no service - great!) I wanted to go without it completely but couldn't help taking photos of all the amazing views from the short and numerous hikes along Rim Drive. I know they don't capture the magnitude of the whole experience but I couldn't help it. There are many daily ranger-led hikes and talks.
Spectacular lightning show that night which I enjoyed at stopping points along Rim Drive. An unexpected storm whipped up when I got back to my site, which included a bear vault, metal fire ring and grate. Shrub oak are everywhere. At one point a doe and her fawn came through my site. Also, adorable chipmunks are also always racing across the roads. This place is well marked as bear country so keep an eye out.
All the sites were booked but were well placed and the whole place didn't feel so crowded. My site was by the bathrooms, so more noisy than other sites, but convenient. The majority of the vault toilets are new and well maintained. Water is available but a sign noted how far away it came, so better to bring your own.
This campground has decent separation between sites but not much shade because the juniper trees are so short. The views at this park are incredible, however you won't see much from your campsite itself. It's tucked into thick juniper forest. This place has lots of bear activity so be sure to bring a bear canister to supplement the provided bear boxes. We saw a blonde haired black bear along one of the roads and were so happy that we were in our car. There's a little self service kiosk for walk up sites. Vault toilets, picnic table, and a fire ring with open flame grill. Just be aware that to do anything on the north rim of the canyon it is a several hour drive. So your activities will likely be limited to the south rim. Would gladly return!
The Black Canyon of the Gunnison is an incredible park - the history is incredible, but the views are awesome! Truly majestic. If you are tent camping, head on down to East Portal so you are right on the river, but if you are driving an RV. This is the place you want to be.
Not a lot of amenities, but you can get your rig parked easily and enjoy the views. One of the more incredible views you'll find in here.
Visited in Early June and it was Hot!! Though we do live at 10,000 ft Beautiful views of the canyon, but more people than down in the East Portal. This campground does accept reservations, which can be helpful for those who prefer to arrive later in the day!
This place is insane! Very underrated National Park
Loop A is the one that is reservable and not held for walk-ups. Site 007A is awesome, one of a few with good shade.