National Parks (NP), National Conservation Areas (NCA), Wildernesses and Wilderness Study Areas (WSA)

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

The Black Canyon of the Gunnison's unique and spectacular landscape was formed slowly by the action of water and rock scouring down through hard Proterozoic crystalline rock. No other canyon in North America combines the narrow opening, sheer walls, and startling depths offered by the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. To learn more visit the National Park Service.

Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area (NCA) and Dominguez Canyon Wilderness

The BLM-managed Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area is home to cascading waterfalls, rugged sandstone canyon and the Dominguez Canyon Wilderness. The area has long been known for amazing scenery in the remarkable canyon country of the Uncompahgre Plateau. Red-rock canyons and sandstone bluffs hold geological and paleontological resources spanning 600 million years, as well as many cultural and historic sites. The Escalante, Cottonwood, and Little and Big Dominguez Creeks tumble through canyons on their way to the that empty the to the Gunnison River which flows nearly 30 miles through this desert landscape. Along with impressive scenery, the area is home to a variety of wildlife, including desert bighorn sheep, mule deer, gold eagle, turkey, elk, mountain lion, black bear and the collared lizard. To learn more visit the Bureau of Land Management.

Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests

The Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests are a combination of separate National Forests located on the western slope of the Colorado Rockies. These three combined Forests cover 3,161,912 acres of public land in the central and southern Rocky Mountains, an area that lies south of the Colorado River and west of the Continental Divide with some of the most spectacular scenery in the Rockies. To learn more visit the USDA Forest Service.

Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area and Wilderness

The BLM-managed Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area (NCA) and Wilderness is set against a backdrop of landscapes including dramatic and unusual adobe badlands formations, sprawling sagebrush flats, rugged pinyon-juniper covered slopes, and colorful sandstone canyons surrounding the spectacular Gunnison Gorge Wilderness river canyon. The NCA boasts a world-class Gold Medal trout fishery and challenging hiking and whitewater adventures. Visitors also enjoy flat-water boating, off-highway vehicle (OHV) riding, mountain biking, horseback riding, and small and big game hunting.

The NCA is home to many native plants and animals including the Gunnison sage-grouse and endangered Clay-Loving Buckwheat and Colorado Hookless Cactus. The 20-mile Sidewinder Trail offers challenging single-track riding and outstanding vistas of Grand Mesa, San Juan Mountains, and the Uncompahgre Valley. The annual June stone fly hatch attracts fishers from all over the world; but any time is a great time for fishing the Gunnison! Special regulations apply throughout the NCA. Permit fees are charged in the Gunnison Gorge Wilderness. Contact the BLM at 970-240-5300 for more information or visit our website.

Adobe Badlands Wilderness Study Area (WSA)

Wilderness Study Areas or WSAs are managed by BLM to preserve their suitability for designation as wilderness until Congress makes final decisions on their designation or releases them for other uses. The BLM Adobe Badlands Wilderness Study Area is known for its mazelike adobe formations of gray and yellow Mancos Shale interspersed with fascinating canyons, mesas, and arroyos. The rugged northern slopes are covered with pinyon-juniper woodlands. The badlands offer scenic vistas of Grand Mesa, the Uncompahgre Plateau, and the San Juan Mountains. A threatened cactus species, the Colorado Hookless Cactus exists within the area. Motorized and mechanized travel within the WSA is limited to designated road and there are no facilities.

West Elk Wilderness

The West Elk Wilderness is a U.S. Wilderness Area located northwest of Gunnison, Colorado in the Gunnison National Forest. To learn more visit the USDA Forest Service.