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Colorado > Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests > Gunnison National Forest
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Gunnison National Forest


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Cebolla Ranger District- The Cebolla Ranger District encompasses the southeast end of the Gunnison National Forest. It is located to the east and south of the town of Gunnison.
Paonia Ranger District- The Paonia Ranger District encompasses the northwest portion of the Gunnison National Forest. It includes much of the North Fork of the Gunnison River drainage and the West Elk Mountains.
Taylor River Ranger District- The Taylor River Ranger District encompasses the portion of the Gunnison National Forest north of Gunnison and Blue Mesa Reservoir. It includes the area around Crested Butte and the Taylor River drainage.

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General Information

Description - The Gunnison National Forest encompasses part of Colorado's central Rockies and includes two peaks over 14,000 feet, as well as 20 peaks over 13,000 feet in elevation. The La Garita, Collegiate Peaks, Fossil Ridge, Maroon Bells-Snowmass, Raggeds and West Elk Wildernesses are partially located within the forest.

One hundred and thirty miles of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail corridor exists within this forest. Taylor Canyon and Reservoir provides opportunities for fishing, rafting and camping. Crested Butte Ski Area provides downhill skiing and snowboarding opportunities. The Silver Thread Scenic Byway connects Lake City with South Fork, while the West Elk Loop Scenic Byway circles the West Elk Wilderness. Other Points of interest in the Gunnison area include Curecanti National Recreation Area, Blue Mesa Reservoir and the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Monument.

Recreation - Popular recreation activities on the Gunnison National Forest include downhill and cross-country skiing, developed and dispersed camping, four-wheel driving, sightseeing, hunting, fishing, hiking, boating, snowmobiling, picnicking, mountain biking, horseback riding, mountain climbing and backpacking.

Climate - Summer high temperatures in much of the forest areas reach into the 70s and low 80s. Evenings are cool, with temperatures that can often dip into the 30s in the high country. Afternoon summer thunderstorms are common. Snow is possible at any time of year in the highest elevations. The high elevation roads and trails are often not clear of snow until at least mid-July. The relative humidity is quite low throughout the year.

Winter lows often dip well below zero though daytime temperatures are normally in the 20s to 30s. Much of the precipitation comes in the winter, when heavy snow can be expected in the high elevations.

Location - The Gunnison National Forest encompasses part of Colorado's central mountains, around the towns of Gunnison, Crested Butte and Paonia. The forest lies just west of the Continental Divide. It includes portions of the West Elk Mountains, the Elk Mountains, The Sawatch Range and the La Garita Mountains.


Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Excellent trout fishing in the Taylor River! Fishing is tough and demands patience. But it is well worth it when you land a big one and they do run big in the river. Fishing is for experience fly fisherman with light tackle. Great park store and resturant along with some wonderful backroad drives to nearby Tin Cup.


More Information

Contact Information:
Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forest - Supervisors Office, 2250 Hwy 50 , Delta, CO, 81416, Phone: 970-874-6600, TTY: 970-874-6660

Paonia Ranger District, P.O. Box 1030 , Paonia, CO, 81428, Phone: 970-527-4131

Taylor River / Cebolla Ranger Districts, 216 North Colorado , Gunnison, CO, 81230, Phone: 970-641-0471

Additional Information:
Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests - The Gunnison, Grand Mesa and Uncompahgre National Forests of west-central and southwestern Colorado are administratively combined. Some of the primary towns surrounded by the forests include Gunnison, Crested Butte, Montrose, Delta, Cedaredge, Hotchkiss, Paonia, Grand Junction, Ouray and Telluride.
Southwest Region - This region lies south of the Elk Mountains and Grand Mesa and west of the Continental Divide. It includes spectacular mountains, and varied terrain that supports recreation activities of many types and all skill levels.

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