Growing numbers of consumers are using the Montrose area campground as a year-round base camp for jeep and rafting tours and railroad rides into some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. Visitors are also staying at the park while they check out history museums and national parks that showcase everything from dinosaur bones to Native American dwellings and the history of the Old West.
“We are surrounded by some of the most spectacular scenery in the world,” said Tom Vail, who manages the 142-site campground with his wife, Kay.
“Within minutes of our park you can see beautiful aspen trees, visit historic mining towns and take jeep and rafting tours and railroad rides into some of the most spectacular scenery in the world.”
Many visitors take guided jeep and river rafting tours, while others sightsee on their own, taking State Route 550 to the historic towns of Ouray, Telluride and Silverton as well as the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, a mere 14 miles away, which features some of the steepest cliffs and craggiest spires in North America.
ATV and mountain biking enthusiasts, fishermen and hunters are also coming to the park in growing numbers, Vail said.
In fact, growing consumer interest in using Black Canyon Jellystone Park as a base camp for sightseeing and recreational and historical tours has prompted the owner of the park to invest in additional rental accommodations.
The park’s RV and tent sites are now complemented by eight lodges and five rental cabins, two of which were added this year.
“We will continue to add more rental accommodations if we need to,” Vail said, adding that the campground also has numerous amenities, including a bark park; a swimming pool; disc golf baskets; pedal karts, a GaGa ball pit; a volleyball net; basketball and shuffleboard courts; and a horseshoe pit. WiFi service, propane, firewood and a general store are also available on site for guest convenience.
Here is information on several nearby activities and attractions that are popular with visitors who use Black Canyon Jellystone Park as a base camp:
— ATV Tours and Guided Trail Rides on Horses or Mules: Outfitters include www.westerncoloradooutfitters.com.
— Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park: This park features some of the steepest cliffs, oldest rocks and craggiest spires in North America. Activities within the canyon including hiking, trout fishing, kayaking, rock climbing and wildlife viewing. https://www.nps.gov/blca/index.htm
— Dinosaur Journey Museum in Fruita: This museum tells the story of the history of life in western Colorado and surrounding areas with real fossils, cast skeletons and robotic reconstructions of dinosaurs. According to its website, the hands-on, interactive museum includes paleontology displays, a working laboratory where dinosaur bones are prepared for display, a collections room where scientists study dinosaurs and other animals, a simulated earthquake ride, a dinosaur library reading area, a sandbox for making your own dinosaur tracks and a “quarry site” where kids can uncover actual Jurassic dinosaur bones. Among the exhibits are real bones of dinosaurs such as Apatosaurus and Allosaurus, along with robotic reconstructions of Dilophosaurus, Utahraptor, Triceratops and Stegosaurus. https://museumofwesternco.com/dinosaur-journey/
— Durango-Silverton Railroad: History enthusiasts will enjoy the Durango-Silverton Railroad, which operates train rides between Durango and Silverton through Oct. 28. The historic train follows the course of the Animas River on track laid in 1882. www.durangotrain.com
— Historic 4 X 4 Tours: Sites visited include ghost towns of Alta, Tomboy, Animas Fork, Mineral Point and the Smuggler Union Mine. www.telluridetours.com
— Jeep Tours: Jeep tours are available year round. Operators include Ouray Jeep Tours at email@example.com.
— Mesa Verde National Park: This World Heritage Site features 5,000 archaelogical sites, including 600 of some of the best preserved cliff dwellings in the United States. The ancient Ancestral Pueblo people lived in the dwellings between AD 600 and 1300. https://www.nps.gov/meve/index.htm
— Museum of the Mountain West in Montrose: This museum features over 500,000 artifacts as well as reconstructed Western storefronts and offices inside a 10,000 square foot building, plus 21 historical buildings outside. www.mountainwestmuseum.com
— Museum of the West in Grand Junction: This museum features 1,000 years of history, including Ute and Fremont rock art. Special events and lectures are offered year round. www.museumofwesternco.org
— Ouray: This little town, which markets itself as the Switzerland of America, is filled with aspen trees, which turn into beautiful fall colors in September and October. The Bachelor-Syracuse Mine Tour is open May to October. Ouray is also hoe of the Ouray Ice Park, which offers more than 200 ice and mixed climbs during the winter months. www.oaraycolorado.com
— Rafting Tours: Rafting tours are available on the Animas River and other rivers in southwestern Colorado. Outfitters include www.raftrigs.com.
— Snowmobile Tours: Several companies offer snowmobile tours in the greater Montrose area during the winter months, including TellurideOutfitters.com
— Telluride: This Victorian-era town is just over an hour’s drive away and feature features a variety of activities, including golf, hiking, rock climbing, fly fishing. Winter activities include dog sledding, skiing and heliskiing. www.telluride.com and www.tellurideadventures.com.
Black Canyon Jellysone Park is located at 22045 South Highway 550 in Montrose and is open year-round. More information is available at www.blackcanyonjellystone.com.