Gunnison Gorge


The Black Canyon or (Gunny Gorge) is an impressive scar in the land in Western Colorado.  The Gunnison River has slowly dug this ditch to around 2000 Feet deep.  The Black Canyon (above Chukar Trail) section is committing and makes for a wild adventure for the expert kayaker.  Portages are tough and most drops have must make moves to avoid sweepers and other nasty features.  For those that make this trip though it is a trip of a lifetime for most. The Gunny Gorge section (below Chukar Trail) is a classic class III overnight trip, with one of the most difficult sections simply being accessing the river at the bottom of the steep Chukar Trail.

Suggested river levels for paddling this section of the Gunnison River are between a bare minimum of 600cfs and a high of 2,000cfs. River conditions sourced from USGS 09132500, the North Fork Gunnison River Near Somerset Remember only watercraft are permitted at Gunnison Gorge.

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Whitewater Rapids

Obstacles on the river run
Chukar Rapid
Class III
One Miler
Class III
Improvise Rapid
Class III
Upper Pucker Rapid
Class II+ to III+
Lower Pucker Rapid
Class II+ to III+
Buttermilk Rapid
Class III to III+
Red Canyon Rapid
Class III to IV-
Boulder Garden Rapid
Class III to IV
Paddle Keeper Rapid
Class III to III+
T-Dyke Rapid
Class II+ to III
S-Turn
Class III to III+
The Squeeze Rapids
Class III to IV-
The Three Drops Rapid
Class V- to V+
Cable Rapid
Class III to IV
Jumpin’ Jack Splash
Class III to III+
Gate Keeper
Class III to III+
Grand Finale
Class II+ to III

Area Hydrology

Gauge Streamflow Stage
North Fk Gunnison River Above Mouth Nr Lazear
USGS 09136100
113 cfs 3.1 ft
North Clear Creek Bl Continental Reservoir
USGS 08214500
2 cfs 1.2 ft
South Fork San Miguel River Near Ophir
USGS 09171310
29 cfs 1.6 ft
Rio Grande At Thirtymile Bridge
USGS 08213500
2 cfs 0.6 ft
Muddy Creek At Bardine
USGS 09131500
0 cfs 3.2 ft
Plateau Creek Near Cameo
USGS 09105000
49 cfs 2.3 ft
Animas River Above Tacoma
USGS 09359500
111 cfs 2.6 ft
Hubbard Creek At Highway 133 At Mouth Nr Bowie
USGS 09132960
2 cfs ft
Surface Creek At Cedaredge
USGS 09143500
4 cfs 0.7 ft
Gunnison River At Delta
USGS 09144250
504 cfs 1.5 ft
Snotel Site Snowpack 24hr Change
Scotch Creek
SNOTEL 739
1" -1"
Burro Mountain
SNOTEL 378
2" 0"
Sharkstooth
SNOTEL 1060
2" -1"
Columbus Basin
SNOTEL 904
11" -1"
Stump Lakes
SNOTEL 797
5" -1"
ouray .23 nnw, co
SNOTEL CO-OR-2
0.77" 0"
Red Mountain Pass
SNOTEL 713
14" -1"
silverton 0.3 wsw, co
SNOTEL CO-SJ-4
0.07" 0"
Wager Gulch
SNOTEL 1188
1" 0"
Mineral Creek
SNOTEL 629
4" 0"
Vallecito
SNOTEL 843
5" 1"
Mc Clure Pass
SNOTEL 618
3" 0"
Crosho
SNOTEL 426
12" -1"
Lone Cone
SNOTEL 589
7" 3"
Idarado
SNOTEL 538
7" 0"
Middle Creek
SNOTEL 624
6" 1"
Lizard Head Pass
SNOTEL 586
2" 0"
Bison Lake
SNOTEL 345
12" -2"
Mancos
SNOTEL 905
2" 0"
Spud Mountain
SNOTEL 780
2" 0"
Ripple Creek
SNOTEL 717
17" 0"
Park Reservoir
SNOTEL 682
18" 0"
Black Mesa
SNOTEL 1185
15" 0"
Trapper Lake
SNOTEL 827
2" -1"
Mesa Lakes
SNOTEL 622
6" -1"
North Lost Trail
SNOTEL 669
7" 0"

Outdoor Recreation

Campground Campsites Reservations Toilets Showers Elevation
Beaver Lake 11 8,750 ft
South Rim - Gunnison National Park 88 8,365 ft
East Portal - Curecanti National Rec Area 15 6,557 ft
Cimarron - Curecanti National Rec Area 22 6,906 ft
Big Cimarron 10 8,667 ft
Silver Jack 60 9,117 ft
Ridgway State Park 283 7,062 ft
North Rim - Gunnison National Park 13 7,752 ft
Crawford State Park 44 6,560 ft
Ski Area Snowpack Air Temperature 5 Day Forecast
Silverton Mountain 14" 41° 0"
Telluride 4" 41° 0"
Kendall Mountain 4" 41° 0"
River Run Streamflow Length Class
Gunnison Gorge 59.4cfs 14.0 Mi III to IV-
South Mineral Creek 44.4cfs 0.5 Mi V to V+