News Release

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park Beginning to Increase Recreational Access

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Date: May 8, 2020
Contact: Sandra Snell-Dobert, 9709229216

Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Curecanti National Recreation Area are increasing recreational access and services. The National Park Service (NPS) is working service-wide with federal, state, and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis.

Beginning May 15Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park will reopen access to:  

  • South Rim Drive
  • North Rim – Day Use Only
  • Inner Canyon Routes – Day Use Only – Permits Required
  • Red Rock Canyon to Permit Holders Only
Entry fees are waived.

With public health in mind, the following facilities remain closed at this time:
  • South Rim and North Rim Campgrounds
  • South Rim Visitor Center
Beginning May 15, Curecanti National Recreation Area will reopen access to:
  • Blue Mesa Reservoir for boating and on-shore recreation
  • Elk Creek Boat Ramp and Inspection Station 5:30 am to 9 pm daily
  • Lake Fork Boat Ramp and Inspection Station 5:30 am to 9 pm daily
  • Iola Boat Ramp and Inspection Station 6 am to 4 pm daily
  • Boat-In dispersed camping at least 1/2 mile from developed areas including roads
  • Gunnison River from Riverway to Blue Mesa Reservoir with extreme caution advised for changing water conditions, strainers, and other hazards.
Due to an anticipated high number of vessel decontaminations, please be prepared to use any of the three open ramps/inspection stations to avoid crowding and delays in getting on the water. Decontaminations will be done 8 am to 4 pm daily.

With public health in mind, the following facilities remain closed at this time:
  • All campgrounds
  • Showers
  • Elk Creek Visitor Center
Keep in mind that Gunnison County is currently under Public Health Orders that restrict travel to "essential" and visitors to Gunnison County are prohibited.

The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners continues to be paramount. At Black Canyon and Curecanti, our operational approach will be to examine each facility function and service provided to ensure those operations comply with current public health guidance and will be regularly monitored. We continue to work closely with the NPS Office of Public Health using CDC guidance to ensure public and workspaces are safe and clean for visitors, employees, partners, and volunteers.  

While these areas are accessible for visitors to enjoy, a return to full operations will continue to be phased and services may be limited. When recreating, the public should follow local area health orders:

For Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park:
For Curecanti National Recreation Area:
Also please see the State of Colorado Public Health orders:

Please practice Leave No Trace principles, avoid crowding and avoid high-risk outdoor activities.

The CDC has offered guidance to help people recreating in parks and open spaces prevent the spread of infectious diseases. We will continue to monitor all park functions to ensure that visitors adhere to CDC guidance for mitigating risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19 and take any additional steps necessary to protect public health.  

Details and updates on park operations will continue to be posted on our website and and social media channels. Updates about NPS operations will be posted on

Last updated: May 14, 2020

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

102 Elk Creek
(GPS/physical address = 9800 Highway 347, Montrose, CO)

Gunnison, CO 81230



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