“This backcountry route follows a long stretch of river in the inner canyon that's only accessible by boat.”
— Eric Ashley
- Wilderness permits are required to enter this route. They can be obtained from the visitor center.
- Campfires are not permitted.
- Poison ivy is present here. Wear long pants!
Features: Fall Colors — River/Creek — Views
Dogs: No Dogs
There are a few short sections that could be run, but based on the difficulty of getting here and the dramatic surroundings, this route is overwhelmingly better at a more leisurely pace.
The North River Route is certainly the easiest of the inner-canyon routes to navigate on foot, but it requires boating from the southern side of the river to the northern side. It should go without saying that the river should only be crossed when it's safe to do so.
For the few visitors who make the journey, the unmaintained route provides a long stretch of fairly gentle riverside to mosey along and enjoy. The towering walls, dramatic rocks, and fast river combine to make a beautiful and dramatic setting. There is only one low ridge that requires a scramble between the start of the trail and the end near Flat Rock Rapid. Once you've had your fill, return to your boat and make a careful crossing back to the boat launch.
Flora & Fauna
The waters of the Gunnison River are especially fine for fishing. A valid Colorado fishing license is required, and there are specific regulations to fishing in the area. Find out more by visiting the NPS's fishing page