|Gunnison is a small college town with 5500 people that sits on the Western Slope of Colorado. Although it is very close to the mountains, Gunnison is more of a ranching community with ranch land on all sides of it. Because of the college, there is an odd mix of people that make Gunnison a really vibrant place. The ranchers mix with the hippie college kids who mix with the yuppie college professors. You might think that it would be a tumultuous community, but just the opposite, Gunnison residents love their town and feel that it is a very special place, which it is. Right outside of town the Taylor River flows into the Gunnison River, which ultimately makes its way into the spectacular Black Canyon of the Gunnison which is approximately 50 miles away from Gunnison.
Unquestionably the biggest attraction to Gunnison is Western State College, which is a small liberal arts school on the edge of town. The Black Canyon of the Gunnison is a must see if you are in this area. Two thousand five hundred feet black walls rise up out of a very narrow canyon with class V whitewater at the very bottom. A hike to the bottom is spectacular, but should only be undertaken if you are in very good shape. None of the trails are that well maintained and are steep and covered in poison ivy. In the summer, Gunnison also hosts a rodeo and fair called Cattlemen's Days. Be sure to check with the Gunnison Chamber of Commerce for the exact dates.
In the winter, you can either ski at Monarch Ski and Snowboard Area or at Crested Butte Mountain Resort. Although Crested Butte is a bit closer, both mountains are about the same distance time wise. Gunnison is a popular place to stay for people skiing at Crested Butte because it is more affordable and closer to the airport. Other winter activities you might enjoy in Gunnison are snowmobiling, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, ice fishing at Blue Mesa Reservoir, ice skating on Gunnison's outdoor rink, and shopping.. In the summer you can mountain bike on some of the best single track in the state. You can also go white water rafting on the Taylor River, kayaking, fishing, hiking, climbing, golfing, on a hot air balloon ride, boating on Blue Mesa Reservoir, or camping. In the fall, Gunnison is a prime destination for hunters, as you can tell by all of the bright orange signs and posters trying to attract hunters into local businesses. Year round check out the Gunnison Pioneer Museum right on the eastern edge of town.