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Gunnison River - colorado
20th of April
Streamflow 965 cfs
Average 1100 cfs
Runnable Min 600 cfs
Runnable Max 2000 cfs
Gradient 50 FPM
Length 14 Miles
Class III to IV-
Current Weather 72° Sunny


Gunnison Gorge is currently runnable with streamflow levels at 965cfs, about -12% below the average runnable rate of 1100cfs. We recommend paddling this section of the Gunnison River between a bare minimum of 600cfs and a high of 2000cfs.

This class III to IV- journey is accessible from 3 different boat launch points along the Gunnison River. Paddlers should prepare for the 17 class III to IV- whitewater rapids along this run. Gunnison Gorge is also ideal for multi day paddlers looking to do some camping too. Campers will find 15 riverside campsites as the run winds its way through 14 miles of the beautiful Gunnison River. Streamflow levels and subsequent run conditions for Gunnison Gorge are sourced from the nearby USGS streamflow gauge at North Fork Gunnison River Near Somerset, Co..

The Black Canyon or (Gunny Gorge) is an impressive scar in the land in Western Colorado.  The Gunnison River has slowly dug this ditch to around 2000 Feet deep.  The Black Canyon (above Chukar Trail) section is committing and makes for a wild adventure for the expert kayaker.  Portages are tough and most drops have must make moves to avoid sweepers and other nasty features.  For those that make this trip though it is a trip of a lifetime for most. The Gunny Gorge section (below Chukar Trail) is a classic class III overnight trip, with one of the most difficult sections simply being accessing the river at the bottom of the steep Chukar Trail. Weather on the river today will be sunny, with a high near 72. light and variable wind becoming west 5 to 10 mph in the afternoon.

Season Begins: March & Ends: October

Seasonal Flow Status: 0% Above Average

With a 965cfs streamflow rate, Gunnison Gorge is currently above its 271cfs average seasonal streamflow for this time of year by 0%. Typically, this paddling destination has seen streamflow levels ranging between a low of 271cfs in 2015, and a high of 271cfs seen in 2015. Data for this report is sourced directly from USGS streamflow gauge 09132500

Hourly Forecast: 72° Today, Sunny

Over the course of the next 5 days, weather conditions on the river are expected to range between A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms after noon. Partly sunny, with a high near 63. to sunny, with a high near 72. light and variable wind becoming west 5 to 10 mph in the afternoon. It doesn't look like there's any substantial snow forecasted this week with air temperatures ranging between 63° - 72°

Forecast Discussion

000 FXUS65 KGJT 191012 AFDGJT Area Forecast Discussion National Weather Service Grand Junction CO 412 AM MDT Fri Apr 19 2019 .SHORT TERM...(Today through Saturday) Issued at 412 AM MDT Fri Apr 19 2019 A high pressure ridge will shift eastward today with its north- to-south oriented ridge axis bisecting the forecast area this afternoon. Warm air advection combined with abundant sunshine beneath the ridge will result in above normal temperatures this afternoon, ranging from 5 to 10 degrees higher than yesterday`s peak readings. A short-wave trough moving across the Desert Southwest later tonight will force the ridge axis east of the Continental Divide resulting in a shift in flow aloft to the southwest. Continued advection of warmer air will result in moderate overnight lows. The short-wave trough mentioned previously will lift east- northeastward on Saturday bringing increased clouds along with scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms across the southern and central Colorado mountains. Adjacent valleys may also experience showers/thunderstorms, though expect less coverage. Increased clouds will bring slightly cooler afternoon highs to the south with little or no change for most other areas across the region. .LONG TERM...(Saturday night through Thursday) Issued at 412 AM MDT Fri Apr 19 2019 The next storm system to impact eastern Utah and Western Colorado will dive through the Great Basin on Saturday night into Sunday morning. Overnight forecast guidance continues to be in excellent agreement regarding precipitation onset in the higher terrain of eastern Utah and northwest Colorado by the late morning hours. Strong, dry southwest flow will remain in place over southeast Utah and southern Colorado as low pressure slowly lumbers east and south. Mid-level temperatures will remain quite warm in this southwest flow regime, and snow levels are expected to be quite high with any precipitation falls through the afternoon. After midnight on Monday morning, low pressure will shift east into eastern Utah, bringing cooler air over all of the western slope. By this time however, much of the synoptic scale moisture will have shifted eastward and very limited snow accumulations of 1-3 inches or less will fall in elevations above ...

Whitewater Rapids and Obstacles

Obstacle Summary Class Elevation
Chukar Rapid

Single drop at the put-in. Most run center at higher water and right slot at lower flows.

Scout from the Chukar trail if you want.
III 5369.51 Feet
One Miler

Run left of the large center hole or rock depending on flows.

III 5352.91 Feet
Improvise Rapid

Recognized by a small vertical cliff on right and a prominent rock slide on left.

Scout left.
III 5347.69 Feet
Upper Pucker Rapid

Narrow slots at low flows. Large holes at high flows (>2000 ft).

II+ to III+ 5319.54 Feet
Lower Pucker Rapid

Narrow slots at low flows. Large holes at high flows (>2000 ft).

II+ to III+ 5314.72 Feet
Buttermilk Rapid

Run at mile 4 straight down the tongue and watch out for the cliff on left.

III to III+ 5293.29 Feet
Red Canyon Rapid

The canyon narrows again at a rocky rapid requiring technical boating skills.

Scout right.
III to IV- 5263.91 Feet
Boulder Garden Rapid

This used to be a Class IV rapid. Flooding in August 2010 altered the hydraulics, making it less difficult.

Recommend scouting (left), as it is unknown what effects high flows may have on the rapid.
III to IV 5227.99 Feet
Paddle Keeper Rapid

Best run on left with ferry back to the right.

Scout left.
III to III+ 5221.73 Feet
T-Dyke Rapid

A straight run through with nice waves. The last designated boater camp is located on the right above the rapid.

II+ to III 5215.04 Feet

Pushes boats toward the cliff wall on left.

III to III+ 5177.71 Feet
The Squeeze Rapids

Immediately below S-Turn. A deceptive, rocky rapid that has wrapped rafts and pinned kayaks. Most common run is through the narrow slots river right.

III to IV- 5167.13 Feet
The Three Drops Rapid

Contains many large holes and narrow slots.

Scout all from right.
V- to V+ 5156.93 Feet
Cable Rapid

Very technical with large holes and two narrow slots. Most run right slot avoiding cliff on left.

Scout right.
III to IV 5156.66 Feet
Jumpin’ Jack Splash

Run left of large boulder and finish right avoiding large hole on left. Watch out for the lateral wave!

III to III+ 5154.95 Feet
Gate Keeper

Requires navigating a narrow slot either center at higher flows or left against the cliff at flows below 600 cfs.

III to III+ 5153.72 Feet
Grand Finale

The last named rapid; stay right and avoid rocks on left.

II+ to III 5154.77 Feet

Regional 5 Day Forecasts

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Run Overview

Permitted Watercraft


Gunnison Gorge Campsites

Big Eddy Camp

River right

Big Eddy Camp

River right

Otter 1 camp

River right

Otter 2 Camp

River right

Bobcat Beach Camp

River right.

Middle Camp

River Left

Buttermilk Rapid

River right just above the rapid

Cowboy Camp

River right

Ute Bluff Camp

River left (below the packer/hiker Ute camp)

Ute #2 Camp

River left

Caddis Camp

River left

T-Dyke Camp

River right

Last Camp

RIver right

Black Forrest

River right

Lone Tree Camp

River left



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