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Gunnison, COEdit

Elevation
7,683 feet


Population
1,329 (c1920)

5,285 (c2000)

10,369 (c2050)


Distances

Albuquerque:

Colorado Springs:

Denver: 289 miles

Durango:

Pueblo:

Waunita Hots Springs:


Gunnison lies in the center of the Colorado mountains, at the bottom of a wide river valley, about midway between Montrose and Salida. It holds a strategic position at the base of three mountain ranges that surround the Gunnison river valley. Home to Western State College, it is a hip and outdoor-oriented town, as well as a focal point for some of the finest recreation in Colorado. A seat of Gunnison County, Gunnison has a long history as a trade center for many smaller communities in the surrounding area. Though Gunnison was originally a ranching and mining town, it now depends greatly on tourism and education to sustain its economy. Tourism accounts for roughly $35 million annually, with education bringing in $26 million. Ranching accounts for about another $8 million.

Gunnison boasts that the sun shines almost every day, but due to its valley location, it gets extremely cold in the winter. In fact, Gunnison has occasionally recorded the coldest temperatures in the nation. The average temperatures in town are several degrees below nearby towns such as Crested Butte, which is at a higher elevation, but is nestled against the protective mountainside.

The Gunnison River was once the mightiest force within several thousand square miles of Colorado. This river has carved some of the most spectacular rock canyons in the world, on it's way west to the Colorado River. The Black Canyon of the Gunnison was considered impassible until the railroad was built. Of course, today, much of the Gunnison valley lies under the impounded waters of Blue Mesa Reservoir.

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