Gunnison River

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Gunnison River at a Glace
Price: $$
River Rapid Class: Upper: I-II; Gunnison Gorge: II-IV+; Lake Fork: III-IV; Lower I-II
Trip in Miles: Upper: 10; Gunnison Gorge: 14
Trip Duration: 1 to 3 Days
Season: May-September
Raft Types: Paddle Raft, Oar Raft
River Sections: Upper: Almont to Gunnison; Gunnison Gorge
Nearby Towns: Gunnison, CO; Almont, CO
Gateway City: Gunnison, CO
Driving Times: Grand Junction, CO: 1 to 2.5 hours; Colorado Springs, CO: 3 hours, depending on river section
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Upper Gunnison River
Unwinding through the farmland and hills of the Gunnison Valley, the Upper Gunnison is an easy and scenic Class I-II float. There are a few mild rapids to give the kids a kick, plus the chance of sighting wildlife like deer, eagles, and great blue herons. Paralleling Colorado Route 135 from Almont to Gunnison, this is an easy river to access.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison River Gorge
One of the most remote river experiences in Colorado is floating through Gunnison Gorge Wilderness Study Area. Access to the river can only be gained by foot or on horseback via one of four one- to five-mile-long trails, and over steep gradients. The scenic gorge and its abundant wildlife are the major attractions, as well as the lure of designated Gold Medal Waters providing trophy trout fishing. Many challenging rapids range from Class II-IV. The trip is 14 miles and can be made in a one- or two-day trip. A limited number of campsites are available along the river.

Lake Fork of the Gunnison
The Lake Fork of the Gunnison River is off the beaten path with opportunities to enjoy both gentle and more difficult rapids. The upper 25-mile stretch of the river winds through varying landscapes from rocky pine studded hillsides to wide open meadows. Much of this segment flows through adjacent private land. Visitors must take care not to trespass. Only a few public land areas offer campsites for staying overnight along the river. Alternatively, continue on to the lower, more difficult five miles. From fled Bridge Campground to Blue Mesa Reservoir, the river is fast flowing, much more technical, and potentially hazardous. It is only for experienced boaters.

Lower Gunnison River
The Lower Gunnison River is a quiet meandering stream important to canoeists, rafters, and catfish fishers. Open canyon scenery, scattered with pinon-juniper and cottonwood canopies, give the river traveler much to appreciate. Most scenic is Dominguez Canyon. Its shallow and gentle sloping configuration makes for gentler Class I-II rapids. Small ranches and apple orchards along the shoreline form a pastoral landscape for those seeking serenity and a place to get away from it all."


Published: 27 Apr 2011 | Last Updated: 25 Aug 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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