Photo of Gunnison Gorge

BLM photo by Rich Durnan

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.


The Gunnison Gorge Wilderness participates in the Recreation Fee Demonstration program. User fees are required for both day use and overnight camping.  Between 80 and 100% of the fees collected in the Gunnison Gorge Wilderness will be used for resource and land management.

Gunnison Gorge User Fees


  • Delta County Sheriff - Dial 911 (Non-Emergency: 970-874-2000)
  • Montrose County Sheriff - Dial 911 (Non-Emergency: 970-240-6606)


Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area and Wilderness Visitor Guide* (2.5MB)

*Colorado Gold Medal fishing regulations have changed since this guide was created.  Please check with the Colorado Division of Wildlife Fishing page for updated regulations.

Gunnison Gorge User Fees

State of Colorado River Outfitter License


The following regulations have been established to protect the Gunnison Gorge Wilderness and all visitors:

  • Organizations interested in group activities on BLM public lands (including school groups) may also have to obtain a river outfitter license from the state of Colorado.  Information about state requirements is available at: or by contacting the State of Colorado directly.
  • One person, or the head guide of commercial trips, must register at the either the Chukar put-in, Gunnison Forks, Bobcat, Duncan, or Ute trailhead (this requirement is in addition to the fee permit).
  • The maximum group size is 12 persons and applies to both day and overnight use.
  • No wood fires are allowed.  You must use either a camp stove or charcoal in a fire pan.  Pack out all ashes.
  • Portable, reusable camp toilets are required.
  • Camp in established campsites only.
  • All dish water must be strained before returning it to the river.
  • Maximum stay of 2 nights
  • Pack out all trash (including cigarette butts) and human waste. A boater waste station is located at the Gunnison Forks takeout for disposal of human waste.
  • All commercial users must have a commercial permit issued by the BLM and must be licensed by the State. All commercial users must have a current copy of the Special Recreation Permit in possession.
  • Gunnison River Pleasure Park is authorized to run a commercial jet boat service up to the Smith Fork.  Otherwise, the Gunnison Gorge Resource Management Plan prohibits motorized water craft in the National Conservation Area.
  • No motorized vehicles or mountain bikes are allowed within the canyon rim of the Gunnison Gorge.


The following fishing regulations apply on the Gunnison River from the upstream boundary of the Black Canyon National Park, through the Gunnison Gorge Wilderness, and downstream to the Relief Diversion Ditch located 5 miles below the North Fork of the Gunnison River:

  • Fishing by artificial flies and artificial lures only.
  • All rainbow trout caught must be returned to the water immediately.
  • Four-fish limit on Brown trout.


2465 S. Townsend Ave, Montrose, CO  81401
Phone: (970) 240-5300  |  TDD (970) 240-5366  |  FAX (970) 240-5367
Office hours are 8:00 am to 4:30 pm

Click on the address above for a map showing the location of the Gunnison Gorge NCA administrative headquarters.