High Water Flows Expected in Black Canyon of the Gunnison

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Date: May 16, 2014
Contact: Sandra Snell-Dobert, 970-641-2337, ext. 227

High water releases from Crystal Dam are expected to occur throughout late May and well into June. Peak water flow is predicted to approach 8,000 cubic feet per second through the main gorge of Black Canyon. The Gunnison River will be fast, cold, deep, and cloudy. Flows will also be irregular, causing fluctuations in depth and velocity throughout the day.

Fishing on the Gunnison within Black Canyon will be very difficult due to the increased flow rate through the canyon. During high flows, wading in the river will be extremely hazardous, if not impossible to do safely. 

At the projected river flows, campsites in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park (including Red Rock Canyon), should not be affected. 

Movement upstream and downstream from river accesses will be very limited or impossible. Check with rangers at the visitor center if you are planning a trip into the canyon.

For more information, please refer to the following websites:

USGS River Gauge - Gunnison River Below the Gunnison Tunnel: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/co/nwis/uv?cb_00065=on&cb_00060=on&format=gif_stats&period=7&site_no=09128000

Bureau of Reclamation – Aspinall Unit      http://www.usbr.gov/uc/water/crsp/cs/asp.html

National Park Service



Crystal Dam Spilling May 2008 NPS photo by Lisa Lynch small

Crystal dam spilling a large amount of water over the top creating a spray of white falling into the river below

NPS Photo by Lisa Lynch

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