Named for a man who was exploring the region for the transcontinental railway—and who was killed by Native Americans soon after leaving the place that would later bear his name—Gunnison has experienced the boom and bust of gold mining, and you can learn a great deal about that past when you are staying here. Check out the Gunnison hotels below, providing the perfect setup to explore the city’s many attractions, which include:
Start early for your trip through Gunnison National Forest: driving on the scenic road is an all-day affair. Located on the southern slope of the Colorado Rockies, the forest covers close to two million acres and includes seven designated wilderness areas. The “loop” is a 30-mile dirt road taking you through canyons and up mountains, with every view more spectacular than the last. There are also hiking trails that have been rated among the best in the United States.
After a day in the forest, head over to the Gunnison Pioneer Museum. Do not skimp on the time you plan for it, there are 24 buildings in the museum complex. Golf carts are provided for handicapped access, and if you cannot see everything in one visit you will be issued a “rain check” for free admission the next day. Bring plenty of water and explore Gunnison’s past history of ranchers and their lives and milieux.
Quite close to the forest is the Curecanti National Recreation Area, featuring three reservoirs with mesas towering over them. Relax on the 90-minute ranger-led pontoon boat tour as you learn about ecology and conservation efforts in the area. Be sure to bring your camera—visitors often see eagles and even bears—and your sunscreen.
By now your children are probably clamoring for something kid-friendly, so take them over to Gunnison City Park, right across from the Visitors’ Center, and set them loose on the playground equipment there. Bring a picnic (there are tables), enjoy the fountains and the open spaces and watch your kids exhaust themselves. There is even a rock-climbing wall for the more adventurous among them!
Back in 1860, prospector Jim Taylor dipped his tin cup into a cold stream and saw gold flakes in the water, and so the town of Tin Cup was founded. Now it is a ghost town—albeit with summer residents in more modern cottages—with several old buildings that you can explore and an old-west history that reads better than most fiction.
For a breathtaking hike in under two hours, head out to the Dillon Pinnacles where you will get a fantastic view of the Blue Mesa Reservoir and, of course, the Pinnacles (formations that resulted from a volcanic flow) themselves. If you do not have time for a hike, then you can still see this attraction from route 50.
Whenever you plan on visiting Gunnison, CO, book with Choice Hotels where you will get the rest and relaxation needed after days spent breathing the clear Colorado air and visiting the many attractions the area has to offer. Exploring mountain trails in Colorado is an experience that you truly do not want to miss, and Gunnison is home to some of the state’s best places for hiking.
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