This mangled looking cliff wall is known as the Painted Wall, located on the north side of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. The Gunnison River at the base of the canyon drops 34′ per mile. This steep water flow is what has caused the river to carve such a relatively narrow canyon this deep. At the top, the canyon is a narrow 1,000′ wide, but 2000′ below at the river level the walls are a meager 40′ wide.
The park is Colorado’s fourth national park and is one of the nation’s newest. It was a national monument for over 60 years, but in 1999 it officially became a national park. According to the National Park Service’s website, at fewer than 200,000 visitors each year it is still one of the least visited parks.
If you want to see both the south and north rims I suggest you plan for several days as they are more than a two-hour drive apart. I really suggest camping on the North Rim as it’s remoteness limits the number of people and you feel as if you have the canyon almost entirely to yourself.