The Black Canyon of the Gunnison’s unique and spectacular landscape was formed slowly by the action of water and rock scouring down through hard Proterozoic crystalline rock. No other canyon in North America combines the narrow opening, sheer walls, and startling depths offered by the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Carved by the Gunnison River two million years ago, this 12-mile long canyon is one of Colorado’s most spectacular. The 2,300-foot Painted Wall is the state’s highest cliff. Great for white water rafting and fishing—contact a local outfitter (see Water Sports) for guided trips. Located 13 miles outside of Montrose, the Black Canyon is about 2 hours from Telluride.