Nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, Gunnison, Colorado, is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Far away from the bustling crowds and tourist traps, this charming town offers a unique blend of outdoor adventures, cultural richness, and breathtaking landscapes. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, history buff, or simply seeking a peaceful retreat, Gunnison has something for everyone. Here’s a curated list of things to do in Gunnison, ensuring an unforgettable experience in this picturesque corner of Colorado.
- Curecanti National Recreation Area: Start your Gunnison adventure with a visit to the Curecanti National Recreation Area, a haven for water lovers. With three stunning reservoirs – Blue Mesa, Morrow Point, and Crystal – this area offers opportunities for fishing, boating, and hiking. The mesmerizing views of the surrounding mountains and the deep blue waters make it a perfect spot for a day of relaxation.
- Hiking the Hartman Rocks Recreation Area: Strap on your hiking boots and head to the Hartman Rocks Recreation Area, a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. With over 8,000 acres of public land, this area boasts a network of trails catering to various skill levels. From gentle strolls to challenging ascents, hikers and mountain bikers alike will find trails that lead to panoramic vistas and unique rock formations.
- Western State Colorado University: Immerse yourself in Gunnison’s rich history and culture by exploring the Western State Colorado University campus. Wander through the charming streets and admire the historic architecture. The campus is home to the Leslie J. Savage Library, where you can delve into local history through its extensive collection of books and archives.
- Crested Butte Mountain Resort: Just a short drive from Gunnison lies the renowned Crested Butte Mountain Resort. In winter, enjoy world-class skiing and snowboarding on the pristine slopes. In the warmer months, the resort transforms into a hub for mountain biking, hiking, and vibrant festivals. The Crested Butte Wildflower Festival is a must-see, showcasing the area’s diverse floral beauty.
- Gunnison Pioneer Museum: For a glimpse into Gunnison’s past, visit the Gunnison Pioneer Museum. This treasure trove of artifacts and exhibits takes you on a journey through the region’s pioneer days. Explore authentic log cabins, vintage farm equipment, and learn about the hardships and triumphs of the early settlers.
- Blue Mesa Almont: Experience the tranquil beauty of Blue Mesa Almont, where the Gunnison and Taylor Rivers converge. This is an angler’s paradise, offering some of the best fly-fishing in the region. Pack a picnic and enjoy the serene atmosphere while watching the clear waters flow beneath the towering mountains.
- Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park: No visit to Gunnison is complete without exploring the dramatic landscapes of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Marvel at the sheer cliffs, deep canyons, and the rushing Gunnison River. Hiking trails along the rim provide breathtaking viewpoints, and stargazing opportunities are unparalleled in this designated International Dark Sky Park.
- Gunnison Valley Observatory: Delve into the mysteries of the night sky at the Gunnison Valley Observatory. With minimal light pollution in the area, this observatory provides an excellent opportunity for stargazing. Join guided tours or public observation nights to witness the wonders of the cosmos through powerful telescopes.
- Gunnison Arts Center: Experience the vibrant arts scene in Gunnison by visiting the Gunnison Arts Center. The center hosts a variety of events, including art exhibitions, live performances, and workshops. Engage with local artists, attend a gallery opening, or participate in a creative class to add a touch of culture to your visit.
- Gunnison City Park: Take a leisurely stroll or have a picnic in the scenic Gunnison City Park. With expansive green lawns, playgrounds for kids, and the tranquil waters of the Gunnison River, it’s an ideal spot for relaxation. The park often hosts community events and festivals, providing a chance to connect with locals.
- Almont Hot Springs: Unwind after a day of exploration at Almont Hot Springs. Nestled between Gunnison and Crested Butte, this natural hot springs facility offers a rejuvenating experience surrounded by mountain views. Soak in the therapeutic mineral-rich waters and let the stresses of everyday life melt away.
- Taylor Park Reservoir: Venture a bit further from Gunnison to discover the breathtaking Taylor Park Reservoir. Surrounded by majestic peaks, the reservoir is a haven for water activities such as kayaking, paddleboarding, and fishing. Scenic drives around the reservoir offer postcard-worthy views and opportunities for wildlife spotting.
- Gunnison National Fish Hatchery: For an educational and family-friendly outing, visit the Gunnison National Fish Hatchery. Learn about the conservation efforts to preserve native fish species, including the iconic cutthroat trout. The hatchery offers guided tours and interactive exhibits that shed light on the importance of maintaining healthy aquatic ecosystems.
- Dos Rios Golf Club: Golf enthusiasts can tee off at the Dos Rios Golf Club, an 18-hole course surrounded by the stunning landscapes of the Gunnison Valley. Enjoy a round of golf with panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, making it a picturesque and relaxing way to spend a day outdoors.
- Camp and Hike in the Gunnison National Forest: Embrace the true spirit of the Rocky Mountains by camping and hiking in the Gunnison National Forest. Numerous trails wind through alpine meadows, dense forests, and high mountain peaks. Whether you’re a seasoned backpacker or a casual day hiker, the forest offers a diverse range of experiences for all skill levels.
Conclusion: Gunnison, Colorado, is a destination that invites exploration and promises a wealth of experiences for every type of traveler. From the rugged beauty of the Curecanti National Recreation Area to the cultural richness of Western State Colorado University, this hidden gem in the Rockies is a haven for those seeking adventure, history, and tranquility. So, pack your bags, hit the road, and uncover the many wonders that make Gunnison a truly special place in the Centennial State.