Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area

Quick Facts

Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area

Colorado

(970) 240-5300

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Located nine miles northeast of Montrose, the Gunnison Gorge Wilderness offers a wild and pristine backcountry experience. A unique double canyon system of black granite and red sandstone layers carved by the Gunnison River, the Gunnison Gorge Wilderness lies within the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area just downstream from the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. The Gunnison Gorge is only the second BLM-administered wilderness area in Colorado and is managed to preserve and protect its wilderness, scenic and recreational values. Popular activities in the Wilderness Area include: kayaking, rafting, hiking, primitive camping, and great trout fishing.

Map of Gunnison Gorge NCA

Latitude, Longitude: 38.585747, -107.714768

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Activities

  • Boating

    The Gunnison River through the Gunnison Gorge offers a technical and remote whitewater experience for rafters, kayakers, and canoeists. Your trip can vary widely, depending on time of year and flow from dam releases and winter snowpack. There are three multiple outfitters for trips down the river.

  • Bicycling

    Opportunities are available.

  • Camping

    Overnight groups must sign-in for campsites at time of registration. Campsites are marked by blue or green-topped wooden posts with a white number. Blue sites are for boaters only (water access); green sites are for hikers only (land access). Follow trailhead instructions. Camping in the Wilderness is restricted to designated primitive campsites.

  • Fishing

    There are many fishing opportunities in the Wilderness Area. It is mainly known for its Gold Medal trout fishing. Outfitters are available for trips in the Wilderness Area.

  • Hiking

    Many trails are located throughout the Wilderness Area and range in difficulty from easy to difficult. There are also multiple designated backcountry campsites on the hiking trails which provide exiting overnight camping adventures.

  • Historic Sites

    The NCA contains a number of prehistoric and historic sites including rock art, cabins, campsites, mines, etc. A number of these sites are eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Cultural surveys of the area are on-going as are a number of site stabilization projects. A major goal of the new NCA plan is to provide users enhanced interpretation of the area's outstanding cultural resources to increase their awareness and understanding of the need to protect these areas.

  • Horseback Riding

    Horses are allowed on most of the hiking trails in the Wilderness Area. Horse camps are also found throughout.

  • Hunting

    Hunting big and small game is allowed in the Wilderness Area. Popular game are mule deer and elk.

  • Off Highway Vehicles

    The Recreation Area offers two designated "open areas" where crosscountry motorcycle, ATV, and mountain bike riding is permitted. In all other NCA areas except the 17,700 Wilderness, motorized and mechanized travel is limited to designated routes.

    Flat Top and Peach Valley recreation sites provide access to large expanses of adobe hills and arroyos, and pinyonjuniper uplands along the NCA's west side which offer scenic settings and 75+ miles of challenging single track and primitive dirt road trail systems for a multitude of riding adventures.

  • Picnicking

    Picnic areas are available.

Directions

Driving

The Gunnison Gorge NCA is located approximately 50 miles south of Grand Junction. Falcon Road, east off U.S. Highway 50, about 10 miles north of Montrose and just south of Olathe, provides access to the NCA from the southwest. Follow this paved road to its end where it turns north onto the unpaved Peach Valley Road. The Peach Valley, Ute, Duncan, Bobcat, Chukar, and all other NCA access roads on both the east and west side of the Gunnison River Canyon are rough, four wheel drive roads that are impassable when wet. High clearance, 4WD vehicles are recommended.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(970) 240-5300

Links