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Old 04-05-2009   #1
Elizabeth, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2yrs
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 21
Gunnison gorge questions

Have never done Gunny gorge. Do I need permits or camping reservations? How are the rapids? Can you carry rafts or ik s down the Chukar trail? Are there any camps preferable to others? Thanks

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Old 04-05-2009   #2
lmaciag's Avatar
Lakewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 670
Here's a link to good info about the rapids, permit, etc:

BKM Colorado | Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area | River Information

The shuttle is long and most use these guys to run it:

Gunnison River Pleasure Park : Services

It is a decent hike down. There's an outfitter with horses that you can hire to take gear down to the river.

List of outfitters (horse pack is at the bottom):

BLM Colorado | Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area | Outfitters

I've kayaked it several times. Let me know if you have any specific questions.


"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain
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Old 04-05-2009   #3
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 116
The majority of the upper rapids are fairly easy; one move and you are through. The more difficult rapids start at the Boulder Gardens and continue through the Narrows. I have run it a few times, and would compare the lower stretch to Shoshone in difficulty. However, I have never been there when the flows are greater than 1500, so depending on when you go will determine how useful this info is to you.

Using Imaciag's info will be of great use to you. The first time I ran Gunny Gorge, I actually carried the BLM descriptions of the rapids with me. They add a little hype to the intensity of the rapids (in my opinion), but considering the difficulty of a rescue, I can see why the would do so.

The hike isn't terrible - probably a little over a mile. Last time I checked, the shuttle was around $75/vehicle. If you are going to arrange a shuttle, make sure to do so in advance and check in before you head down to Chukar. We tried to get in touch with Leroy at Pleasure Park to run shuttle after half of our party bailed, and the number had been disconnected.

Hope this helps....
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Old 04-21-2009   #4
Lakewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 2
Has anyone been sliding down chuckar trail road recently? I'm thinkin it's been dry enough the last few, the road should be good?
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Old 04-21-2009   #5
Longmont, Colorado
Paddling Since: 98
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 328
Not to hijack but assuming you have the right vehicle how far down the trail can you get? The BLM site above says it's "wilderness" which means no vehicles but from what others have said it sounds like you can drive down.

So what's the scoop?
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Old 04-22-2009   #6
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crested butte, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 698
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....chukar road....

rode motos over there last sunday...chukar is can only drive chukar road til the campground/trail head...then it is time to hike's about 40 minutes on a much improved 4-wheel road....enjoy....let me know when you may go as i could meet you at leroy' could use my truck to get to chukar trail head...then it will be there for me when i come out of the upper section....milo 970-275-1890 or
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Old 04-22-2009   #7
Ridgway, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 22
Floated Gunny Gorge yesterday. Road is dry (which by the way is a what we call a cherrystem into the wilderness). The Gunnison Gorge IS a capital W Wilderness area. The road leads you to the trailhead. The horse packer does not start till middle of May, but it depends. The descriptions of the rapids are written not with hype, but with the lower experienced boater in mind. Almost all are class 3 at regular flows. Permits are self issuing at the trailhead. $3 per person for a day trip, $10 per person for an overnight, and $15 per person for 2 nights. Good campsites are Buttermilk, Ute 2, Caddis Camp, Boulder Garden, and T-dyke. Hope this helps
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Old 04-22-2009   #8
Crested Butte, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1987
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 298
Carrying rafts down Chuckar trail is possible but some have complained of knee problems since then. Carrying duckies and kayaks down is preferrable. The shuttle and carry down take more time than you would think so sleeping at the trailhead is a good idea.
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Old 04-22-2009   #9
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conifer, Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 937
Originally Posted by jeffsssmith View Post
Carrying rafts down Chuckar trail is possible but some have complained of knee problems since then. Carrying duckies and kayaks down is preferrable. The shuttle and carry down take more time than you would think so sleeping at the trailhead is a good idea.
I've done the hike in the middle of the night and don't recommend this. Bring a fishing pole and the shuttle is worth the money.
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Old 04-22-2009   #10
Mapleton, Utah
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 35
I have always driven the shuttle myself, not too bad. It is a beautiful canyon, definitely spend a night. If you meet a ranger named rooster ask him to tell you about the Immodium AD Bandits. That's Me.

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