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
2,440 cfs 5.7 ft
Gunnison River At Delta
USGS 09144250
4,220 cfs 4.9 ft
Smith Fork Near Lazear
USGS 09129600
3 cfs 4.5 ft
South Fork San Miguel River Near Ophir
USGS 09171310
151 cfs 2.3 ft
North Fork Gunnison River Near Somerset
USGS 09132500
2,380 cfs 4.0 ft
Mineral Creek At Silverton
USGS 09359010
632 cfs 2.4 ft
Muddy Creek At Bardine
USGS 09131500
404 cfs 5.2 ft
Roaring Fork River Near Emma
USGS 09081000
1,400 cfs 7.1 ft
Uncompahgre River Below Ridgway Reservoir
USGS 09147025
216 cfs 2.4 ft
Rio Grande At Thirtymile Bridge
USGS 08213500
739 cfs 3.2 ft
Snotel Site Snowpack 24hr Change

Outdoor Recreation

Campground Campsites Reservations Toilets Showers Elevation
Ridgway State Park 283 7,062 ft
East Portal - Curecanti National Rec Area 15 6,557 ft
Cimarron - Curecanti National Rec Area 22 6,906 ft
Beaver Lake 11 8,750 ft
Big Cimarron 10 8,667 ft
North Rim - Gunnison National Park 13 7,752 ft
Crawford State Park 44 6,560 ft
Silver Jack 60 9,117 ft
South Rim - Gunnison National Park 88 8,365 ft
Ski Area Snowpack Air Temperature 5 Day Forecast
Silverton Mountain 52" 57° 1.59"
Telluride 17" 58° 1.55"
Kendall Mountain 17" 58° 1.55"
River Run Streamflow Length Class
Gunnison Gorge 1030.0cfs 14.0 Mi III to IV-
South Mineral Creek 80.7cfs 0.5 Mi V to V+