Click here for Three Rivers Resort & Outfitting, Raft, Fish, and Kayak, fun things to do in Gunnison/Crested Butte Colorado
White-water Rafting and Kayaking White-water Rafting and Kayaking

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 to see exposed Precambrian rocks 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. The Gunnison Gorge, located just downstream from the National Park, is a 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 Gunnison River going into a Gunnison Gorge
The Calm Waters Before the Rushing Rapids Through Gunnison Gorge
Rafters getting wet on the Gunnison River
Getting Extremely Wet is Part of the Fun as You Raft the Gunnison River


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 passageways. The river is generally mild, and is a great place for family trips.

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 views. Because 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

Arkansas River Tours - Family Floats to Extreme Adventures Email link icon Web page link icon Photos on page icon
Celebrating 50 years, 300,000+ happy river guests! ART offers tours for timid beginners to experienced veterans on the Arkansas River. In Cotopaxi, between Salida and Cañon City. Families are our specialty!
Arrowhead Mountain Lodge, Restaurant and Bar Web page link icon Photos on page icon
SECLUDED year-round in the Uncompahgre National Forest! Arrowhead Mountain Lodge: Restaurant, bar, UTVing, fishing, snowmobiling. Near the Black Canyon between Montrose and Gunnison off US 50.
Blue Mesa Fishing - Guided Lake and Ice-Fishing Web page link icon Photos on page icon
A PREMIER FISHING EXPERIENCE in GUNNISON: Guided lake and trolling for Rainbow Trout and Kokanee Salmon on Blue Mesa Reservoir. WINTER Ice-fishing from Mid-December to Late-March.
Kreuger Ranch Cabins Web page link icon
Sports and Relaxation specialist will both be happy: Wild Trout fishing and unguided hunting near Gunnison, Kreuger is a working ranch on 500-acres! Stay in one of our log cabins or bring your RV.
Oleo Ranch - A SIlverhook Ranch - Colorado Vacation Cabins Web page link icon Photos on page icon
Each log vacation cabin at Oleo Ranch has its own privacy. Cebolla Creek trout fishing on-site. In the Mountains between Creede and Lake City, Colorado. PETS WELCOME when in designated cabins.
Sportsman Fly Shop, Fly-Fishing Trips and Shuttle Service Web page link icon Photos on page icon
In Lake City 50+ years! Full Service Outdoors Stop: Pro Fly Shop, fishing guides - beginners to advanced, sportsman equipment rentals, trail maps. Shuttle service. Soaring mountains, clear streams, wildlife!
Three Rivers Resort & Outfitting Raft, Fish, Kayak Web page link icon Reservation link icon Photos on page icon
A Riverside Resort: vacation cabins, RV Sites, Pro-Fly Shop. Outfitting on Three Rivers: Fish, Raft, Kayak. 10 miles north of Gunnison in Almont, CO. Summer: Smokehouse Grill. Plenty of winter recreation!

More Activities & Information

Delta, Colorado

Gunnison, Colorado includes: Almont, Blue Mesa Lake, Ohio City, Parlin, Pitkin, Sargents, Sapinero, Taylor Park, Waunita Hot Springs

Montrose Area, Colorado includes: Cimarron, Olathe

Rafting & Kayaking in Colorado

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