Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area

 Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area

Gunnison Gorge NCA (Photo by Bob Wick)The Gunnison Gorge NCA is set against a backdrop of landscapes ranging from adobe badlands and rugged slopes, to the breathtaking river canyon of the Gunnison Gorge Wilderness.

Visitors can enjoy numerous forms of recreation within this NCA. The Gunnison Gorge boasts a world-class, blue ribbon trout fishery, and challenging Class II-IV whitewater boating in a remote wilderness setting. The down-river boundary of the wilderness is below the confluence of the Smith Fork. From there, the river continues for several miles through this NCA.

The NCA also contains a number of prehistoric and historic sites, including rock art, cabins, campsites, and mines. A number of these sites are eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

Total Area:
62,844 acres
Elevation Range: ~5,200 to ~8,000 feet
BLM Field Office: Uncompahgre
Designated: 1999 (Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area Act)

Location: The Gunnison Gorge NCA is located in Delta and Montrose counties, just north of Montrose, approximately 13 miles east of Delta; 50 miles south of Grand Junction. The Gunnison Gorge Wilderness makes up 17,700 acres of this NCA.

Flora & Fauna: Vegetation consists mainly of desert shrubs, sagebrush, and pinyon-juniper. Fauna includes mule deer, elk, mountain lion, coyote, fox, ringtail, various small mammals, neo-tropical birds, bald eagles and various other raptors, bats, chukar, river otter, Gunnison sage grouse, and rainbow, brown, and cutthroat trout.

Recreation: Activities include hiking, backpacking, camping, mountain biking, rafting, kayaking, canoeing, OHV riding, horseback riding, fishing, hunting, and photography. For more information, visit the Recreation page. Please note that though recreation is encouraged in national conservation areas, specific types of recreation may be barred from a specific area to prevent degradation of natural conditions.

Click here for additional information and maps for the Gunnison Gorge NCA from the Uncompahgre Field Office.

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Uncompahgre Field Office  |  (970) 240-5300  |  2465 S. Townsend Ave., Montrose, CO 81401