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
Uncompahgre River At Colona
USGS 09147500
63 cfs 3.4 ft
Lake Fork At Gateview
USGS 09124500
73 cfs 1.4 ft
Uncompahgre River At Delta
USGS 09149500
168 cfs 3.0 ft
San Miguel River Near Placerville
USGS 09172500
139 cfs 4.4 ft
North Clear Creek Bl Continental Reservoir
USGS 08214500
0 cfs 0.9 ft
Plateau Creek Near Cameo
USGS 09105000
58 cfs 2.3 ft
N.F. Gunnison R Blw Leroux Cr
USGS 09135950
120 cfs 8.0 ft
Mineral Creek At Silverton
USGS 09359010
45 cfs 1.0 ft
Surface Creek Near Cedaredge
USGS 09143000
12 cfs 2.4 ft
Uncompahgre River Below Ridgway Reservoir
USGS 09147025
35 cfs 1.8 ft
Snotel Site Snowpack 24hr Change
El Diente Peak
SNOTEL 465
24" -2"
Columbus Basin
SNOTEL 904
48" 0"
Mineral Creek
SNOTEL 629
34" -1"
Park Reservoir
SNOTEL 682
53" -1"
Bison Lake
SNOTEL 345
53" 0"
Wager Gulch
SNOTEL 1188
22" 0"
Mc Clure Pass
SNOTEL 618
20" -1"
Red Mountain Pass
SNOTEL 713
54" -1"
Lizard Head Pass
SNOTEL 586
28" -2"
Middle Creek
SNOTEL 624
47" -1"
Crosho
SNOTEL 426
18" -50"
Beartown
SNOTEL 327
45" 0"
Ripple Creek
SNOTEL 717
54" -2"
Lone Cone
SNOTEL 589
18" -2"
Scotch Creek
SNOTEL 739
12" -1"
Schofield Pass
SNOTEL 737
57" -1"
Idarado
SNOTEL 538
27" -2"
Stump Lakes
SNOTEL 797
39" -1"
Burro Mountain
SNOTEL 378
26" -2"
Cascade
SNOTEL 386
5" -3"
Cascade #2
SNOTEL 387
1" 0"
Mesa Lakes
SNOTEL 622
32" -2"
Molas Lake
SNOTEL 632
33" -2"
Trapper Lake
SNOTEL 827
12" -1"
Sharkstooth
SNOTEL 1060
31" -3"
pagosa springs 9.1 nnw, co
SNOTEL CO-MN-1
7.11" -1.26"
Overland Res.
SNOTEL 675
18" -2"
Slumgullion
SNOTEL 762
37" -1"
North Lost Trail
SNOTEL 669
29" -2"
Upper Rio Grande
SNOTEL 839
3" -3"
Black Mesa
SNOTEL 1185
50" 0"
Weminuche Creek
SNOTEL 1160
34" -3"
Spud Mountain
SNOTEL 780
47" -3"
Vallecito
SNOTEL 843
32" -2"

Outdoor Recreation

Campground Campsites Reservations Toilets Showers Elevation
Silver Jack 60 9,117 ft
North Rim - Gunnison National Park 13 7,752 ft
South Rim - Gunnison National Park 88 8,365 ft
Crawford State Park 44 6,560 ft
Big Cimarron 10 8,667 ft
Beaver Lake 11 8,750 ft
Ridgway State Park 283 7,062 ft
Cimarron - Curecanti National Rec Area 22 6,906 ft
East Portal - Curecanti National Rec Area 15 6,557 ft
Ski Area Snowpack Air Temperature 5 Day Forecast
Kendall Mountain 34" 50° 3.28"
Silverton Mountain 54" 46° 3.55"
Telluride 34" 50° 3.28"
River Run Streamflow Length Class
Gunnison Gorge 267.0cfs 14.0 Mi III to IV-
South Mineral Creek 45.2cfs 0.5 Mi V to V+