Gunnison Gorge of the Gunnison River

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 trails 1-5 miles long, 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. Campsites are available in limited numbers along the river.

This segment of the Gunnison has been recommended for Wild and Scenic River designation. The Gorge is a BLM Wilderness Study Area and is being recommended for formal designation.

Four foot trails: Ute Trail, 4.5 miles long with a gradual slope, Duncan Trail, 1 mile and extremely steep, Bobcat Trail, 1 mile and very steep, and the Chukar Trail, less strenuous and recommended for rafters, 1.1 mile.

Overall Class III-IV, some Class II.

Average Gradient
15 ft./mi.

Trip Length
Chukar Trail - Gunnison Forks 1-2 days, 14 mi.

Memorial Day weekend to September.

Red Rock Canyon, Black Ridge, Lazear

Other Notes
May take-out at Gunnison River Pleasure Park (private); fee collected. Maximum group size day or overnight trips: 12 people. No wood fires; fire pans required for charcoal. Porta-potties must be used on overnight trips. River map available from BLM.

BLM Resource Area Office:
Uncompahgre Resource Area
2505 South Townsend
Montrose, CO 81401

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 30 Sep 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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