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Black Canyon



Black Canyon WSAThe Black Canyon WSA consists of the western sideslopes and lower mountains of the Sangre de Cristo Range - an uplifted block that began to form by faulting along the Rio Grande rift about 25-30 million years ago.

Intermittent streams have created a maze of valleys, which provide excellent opportunities for recreation, especially hiking. The valleys created by streams provide a stair-step approach to the upper reaches of the mountain slopes. Spotted throughout the area are vistas, which overlook both the peaks of the mountain range and the vastness of the San Luis Valley.

It is adjacent to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park (NPS). The unusual shape and size of this WSA is due to congressional consideration of adjacent lands as proposed wilderness at the time of the original BLM wilderness inventory. 


Total Area:
 1,202 acres
Elevation Range: ~9,000 to ~11,536 feet
BLM Field Office: San Luis Valley
Designated: 1980 (Wilderness Study Area)

Location: The Black Canyon WSA is located in Saguache County on the northeastern edge of the San Luis Valley, approximately 10 miles southeast of Villa Grove; 50 miles north-northeast of Alamosa. The Sangre de Cristo Wilderness (USFS) is also nearby.

Flora & Fauna: Vegetation consists mainly of pine, fir, pinyon-juniper, and aspen. Fauna includes mule deer, elk, black bear, various smaller mammals, and various raptors.

Recreation: Activities include hiking, backpacking, camping, and photography. For more information, visit the Recreation page. Please note that though unconfined recreation is encouraged in wilderness study areas, specific types of recreation may be barred from a specific area to prevent degradation of natural conditions.


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San Luis Valley Field Office  |  (719) 655-2547  |  46525 Highway 114, Saguache, CO 81149