Black Canyon of the Gunnison
The Ute Indians had known the canyon to exist for a long time before the first Europeans saw it. By the time the United States gained independence in 1776, two Spanish expeditions had passed by the canyons. In the 1800s, the numerous fur trappers searching for beaver pelts would have known of the canyon's existence but they left no written record.
In 1881, the Denver and Rio Grande had reached Gunnison from Denver. It pushed its narrow gauge line through the canyon in 1882, taking a year to build the last mile. In March, 1883, it completed its connection to Salt Lake City and for a brief period the canyon was on the main line of a transcontinental railroad system. By 1890, an alternate route through Glenwood Springs had been completed and the route through the Black Canyon, being more difficult to operate, lost importance for through trains. The route was finally abandoned in 1955.