NPS PHOTO BY SHASTA MCCOY
Expert kayakers find the Gunnison River through the National Park an arduous challenge. This stretch of the Gunnison is for only the most experienced and well equipped kayakers.
The rapids within the national park are considered Class V and some sections are unrunnable. This is a very technical paddle and includes numerous long, difficult and dangerous portages. Poison ivy is nearly impossible to avoid, and can be found growing 5 feet tall along the river.
Kayakers run the river at their own risk. The Gunnison River through the National Park has claimed the lives of even the most experienced, respected kayakers. The river's hydraulics can make self-rescue or rescue by others impossible.
The following are general water flow ratings*:
*These are general water flow guidelines. Local kayak experts suggest the unique hydraulics of the Gunnison River through Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park make kayaking even more difficult than the above ratings.
Water temperatures are cold year-round, usually around 50 degrees Fahrenheit or less. Swimming or wading is not recommended.
WILDERNESS USE PERMITS ARE REQUIRED FOR KAYAKING.
Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area
Contact the Bureau of Land Management for information on the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area:
Did You Know?
The Gunnison River through Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park drops at an average of 95 feet per mile. By comparison, the Colorado River through Grand Canyon National Park drops an average of 7.5 feet per mile.