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Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center
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Whitewater Kayaking, Rafting, Rock Climbing, & Mountain Biking: Guided Tours and Professional Instruction. Choose your own a (more...)
site home  :: self guided home  :: U.S. river guide  :: Colorado River Trips  :: Gunnison River Colorado

Kayaking & Canoeing Gunnison River Colorado

Upper East
Put-in:  Gothic Bridge
Take-out:  Above Stupid Falls
Difficulty:  Class V- @ 600 cfs
Length:  0.9 mile
Tributary - Daisy Creek
Put-in:  Base of 40 footer
Take-out:  The Slate of Pittsburg or Oh Be Joyful C.G.
Difficulty:  Class V-
Length:  0.9 mile
Tributary - Slate River
Put-in:  Flat Marshy Area
Take-out:  Oh Be Joyful C.G.
Difficulty:  Class V- @ 400 cfs
Length:  2 miles
Put-in:  1 mile up from the Slate
Take-out:  before slate confluence
Difficulty:  Class V
Length:  1 mile
Tributary - Taylor River, Taylor Canyon
Put-in:  New Generation pulloff
Take-out:  South Bank Launch
Difficulty:  Class III+
Length:  5.2 miles
Tributary - Taylor River, Lower Taylor
Put-in:  South Bank Launch
Take-out:  Almont Post Office
Difficulty:  Class II, III
Length:  7.5 miles
Gunny Town Run
Put-in:  North Bridge
Take-out:  McCabes Lane
Difficulty:  Class II, III
Length:  8.6 miles
Tributary - Cebolla Creek
Put-in:  Hwy 149 @ Cebolla Creek
Take-out:  Blue Mesa Res. across from Cebolla Creek
Difficulty:  Class III
Length:  14.5 miles
Tributary - Henson Creek
Put-in:  Above Nellie Creek
Take-out:  0.5 mile up 20 RD from Lake City
Difficulty:  Class V-
Length:  6.7 miles
Tributary - Henson Creek, Lake Fork Box
Put-in:  Ryan Ranch Bridge
Take-out:  The Gate Campground
Difficulty:  Class II, III
Length:  11 miles
Tributary - Lake Fork, Gate Campground
Put-in:  Gate Campground
Take-out:  Redbridge Campground
Difficulty:  Class II
Length:  7 miles
Tributary - Lake Fork, Red Bridge Campground
Put-in:  Red Bridge Campground
Take-out:  Gateview Campground
Difficulty:  Class III to IV @ 400 - 1,000 cfs, IV to V- @ > 1,000 cfs
Length:  4.5 miles
Tributary - Big Cimarron, Big Cimarron Campground
Put-in:  Big Cimarron Campground
Take-out:  Cimarron Rd. Bridge
Difficulty:  Class V < 500 cfs, V+ > 500 cfs
Length:  10.2 milies
Tributary - Big Cimarron, Lower Cimarron
Put-in:  Near Cimarron
Take-out:  Gunnison River
Difficulty:  Class V
Length:  1 mile
Gunnison Gorge
 photos of Gunnison Gorge  videos of Gunnison Gorge
Put-in:  Chukar Trail
Take-out:  North Fork of the Gunnison
Difficulty:  Class III+
Length:  13.4 miles
Black Canyon
Put-in:  East Portal
Take-out:  Gunnison Forks
Difficulty:  Class V
Length:  27.7 miles
Tributary - Anthracite Creek, Ruby Fork
Put-in:  Bridge over Ruby Fork
Take-out:  Erikson Springs Campground
Difficulty:  Class V+
Length:  11 miles
North Fork Gunnison
Put-in:  Below Paonia Reservoir
Take-out:  Below Somerset
Difficulty:  Class III < 2,000 cfs, IV- > 2,000 cfs
Length:  8.8 miles
Tributary - Upper Kannah Creek
Put-in:  C.G. at Kannah Creek Trailhead
Take-out:  girl scout camp bridge
Difficulty:  Class V
Length:  1.8 miles
Tributary - Lower Kannah Creek
Put-in:  Hwy 50 Bridge
Take-out:  Hwy 141 Bridge
Difficulty:  Class III
Length:  6.5 miles
Tributary - Escalante Creek
Put-in:  Escalante Forks
Take-out:  1/2 mi. above Capt. Smith's Cabin
Difficulty:  Class V
Length:  6.5 miles
Put-in:  Bridge just below Ouray
Take-out:  Bridge to KOA
Difficulty:  Class V < 900 cfs, V+ > 900 cfs
Length:  2.2 miles
Dominguez Canyon
 photos of Dominguez Canyon
Put-in:  Delta
Take-out:  Escalante Bridge
Difficulty:  Class II-
Length:  17 miles;
Escalante to Whitewater
Put-in:  Escalante Bridge
Take-out:  Whitewater
Difficulty:  Class II, III-
Length:  26 miles


The Gunnison River starts west of Grand Junction near the Continental Divide above Crested Butte Ski Area and flows through the town of Gunnison and on through the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. This trip features great fishing, hiking and swimming in the warmer months.

The river meanders through a National Conservation Area and has been awarded “Gold Medal” status quality for providing an important habit for trout. This fourteen-mile Gunnison Gorge stretch has also been nominated for the “Wild and Scenic River” designation.

The scenery is reminiscent of the Grand Canyon section of the Colorado River and is characterized by clear green water, towering black granite cliffs and foaming rapids and glassy pools. There are a limited number of permits to run this river for commercial companies, which assures a true wilderness experience. Private boaters don't need a permit, but need to pay a user fee.


The Black Canyon run is known as one of the better whitewater runs in Colorado, but remains uncrowded due to some distruptions: one is a strenuous portage mid-trip and the other is thick poison ivy and ticks that boaters encounter during this portage! This run is nearly 28 miles and can be done in one day if you are a fast boater with good endurance, but ideally you should stretch it into two days to enjoy this beautiful canyon.

Gunnison Gorge or “Gunny” as the locals say, begins after Black Canyon and is a voyage through a semi-remote beautiful canyon with a few pool and drop Class IIIs. Surfing and playboating is said to be quite good at highwater.