Black Canyon of the Gunnison
We knew very little about this national park. It is one of the newest. The name "Black Canyon" comes from the small amount of sunlight some portions of the gorge receive (33 minutes per day). The Black Canyon Painted Wall is the tallest cliff in Colorado and third tallest in the lower 48 states. The cliff drop is approximately twice the height of the Empire State building. The river drops 43 feet per mile, substantially faster than the Colorado river through the Grand Canyon. While smaller in scale than the Grand Canyon, the sheer cliffs, ruggedness and canyon floor views make this definitely worth visiting!
We spent our first day on the south rim, exploring various points and we ended up at the Painted Wall to catch some pictures during the golden hour before sunset. The next day we returned, taking the East Portal drive to the canyon floor. The descent drive runs five miles with three of them with 16% grades. It was a spectacular drive and the views from the bottom are beautiful. We were able to do a little hiking along the river for some wonderful views.
A couple photo notes: If you look carefully at the second picture, you will see a rainbow, arching from the upper left to lower right. The heavy rushing river made for a great slow exposure tripod shot that you will see in a couple photos towards the end.