Colorado Whitewater Rafting & Kayaking
Gunnison River Rafting & Kayaking
The Gunnison River begins high in the mountains near Grand Junction as a clear mountain stream. As it flows down into the valley, it widens into a shallow, rocky river, passing through Gunnison, Colorado. The Gunnison flows through the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, cutting the sheer walls of the canyon. This is the best place in the world where Precambrian rocks are exposed, with polished Protereozoic schist and gneiss formations. As the river continues west, it feeds the huge 35-mile long reservoir of the Curecanti National Recreation Area. It is the Gunnison Gorge, located just downstream from the National Park, that is the raftable section of the Gunnison River. This section is nicknamed the "Baby Grand" because of the scenery that is reminiscent of the Grand Canyon.
The river is rafted from May to September, filled with many Class II-III+ rapids. The highest water levels occur during May to early June, adding a little intensity to the narrow river passageway. The river is generally mild, and is a great place for family trips.
To getting to the river requires an easy but fairly steep one mile hike to the put in spot. However, the hike is filled with dramatic canyon scenery and amazing. As only two groups of twelve people are permitted to raft the Gunnison Gorge each day, you will also be able to experience wonderful solitude.
The canyon's sheer basalt and granite walls make the trip down the fast and furious rapids even more breathtaking. The first 11 miles of the river are interspersed with many Class III rapids, including the Squeeze, the Drops, Cable and The Hall of the River King. You will pass through 14 miles of gold medal trout water, and you can also catch a glimpse of a variety of wildlife, such as bighorn sheep, mule deer, elk, peregrine falcons, and eagles, ringtail cats, marmots, and the endangered river otter.
The International Rapid Rating Scale:
- Class I: Easy. Fast moving water with riffles, small waves.
- Class II: Novice. Straightforward rapids, wide, clear channels.
- Class III: Intermediate. Rapids, moderate, irregular waves.
- Class IV: Advanced. Intense, powerful rapids, precise boat handling.
- Class V: Expert. Long, obstructed, violent rapids.
Places to Stay & Fun Things to Do
Family reunions are our specialty! Since 1973, ART offers exceptional whitewater rafting trips on the Arkansas River; in Cotopaxi, between Canon City and Salida. Wilderness Tours in Gunnison Gorge.
Remote! From Montrose take Hwy 50 to Cimarron, Arrowhead Mountain Lodge, remodeled in 2014 and is now a year round retreat with snowmobiling, fishing, restaurant and bar. Near Silverjack Reservoir.
A PREMIER FISHING EXPERIENCE in GUNNISON: Guided Lake, trolling and Ice Huts for Rainbow Trout and Kokanee Salmon on Blue Mesa Reservoir, or Fly-Fishing on the Gunnison River and Cebolla Creek.
Experience the Gold Medal Waters of the Gunnison River in the North Fork Valley near Montrose and Delta Colorado! Adventure Expeditions: Float fishing, river rafting, jet boating all with an expert guide.
Trout fishing and unguided hunting near Gunnison, Kreuger's is a working ranch on 500-acres: Sports and Relaxation specialist enthusiasts will both be happy! Stay in one of our log cabins or bring your RV.
In Lake City, at the same location for 50+ years. A full service outdoors, gift, Pro Fly Shop specializing in fishing guides, Jeep tours, sportsman equipment rentals, hiking trips, snowshoe tours, and trail maps.
10 miles north of Gunnison in Almont. Riverside resort cabins and vacation homes on Three Rivers: Taylor, East, Gunnison. Pro-Fly Shop. Outfitting: Raft, Fish, Kayak. Smokehouse Grill open in summer.
More Activities & Information
Gunnison, Colorado includes: Almont, Blue Mesa Lake, Ohio City, Parlin, Pitkin, Sargents, Sapinero, Taylor Park, Waunita Hot Springs
Montrose Area, Colorado includes: Cimarron, Olathe