A Day Trip Review of Gunnison, Colorado
A day trip from Gunnison Colorado is an exciting outdoor adventure.
Things To Do In Gunnison, Colorado
Gunnison is a small city in Southwestern Colorado surrounded by very tall mountains. It is decorated by the sparkling Gunnison River as it winds its way around town into the Blue Mesa reservoir just northwest of the city. With outdoor activities from skiing and snowmobiling to fly-fishing and hunting; Gunnison is a paradise for anyone who loves the outdoors.
This very high altitude town at 7,700 feet of elevation only has a population of about 5,800. Make sure to bring your sunscreen and don’t expect to go for a long jog, that thin air is brutal!
I happened to fly my first overnight into Gunnison and had nearly a whole afternoon to bum around town. I wrote about what I found below. But before you read my reviews, here are some helpful links to plan your vacation or layover:
The Comfort Inn
Our crew hotel is the Comfort Inn just north of the downtown area of Gunnison Colorado. The hotel is fine, the rooms are clean, and it has a pool and hot tub we can use. It also offers us a free breakfast which most of us stretch out into a lunch as well.
I have to give a shout-out to the staff. They are great. They are more than happy to help me with ideas for things to do in Gunnison. The hardest part of exploring a new city on a layover is the transportation. In Gunnison, crews don’t have a car to use and when I searched on Uber, nobody was available. I decided to explore by foot. The hotel gave me a few ideas and offered to drive me around a little bit as well. Here’s what I ended up doing:
Gunnison Area State Wildlife Area
One of my favorite parts of my day trip from Gunnison was this wildlife area. If you like to explore or hike, this wildlife area is great. It has a maintained trail that’s only about a quarter mile from the hotel. It operates year-round for non-motorized vehicles and is an easy four-mile loop from the comfort in.
Head east from the hotel and the road will turn to dirt. There is a marked trail on the north side just past a farm on your right and a school on your left.
The trail will take you north by a creek and then along the Gunnison River and some large cliffs of the mountain range on the other side. The walk was gorgeous.
Follow the loop all the way around and you will come across this bridge, which will take you back to the neighborhood just north of the hotel.
The trail was clearly very popular, especially for dog walkers. I’m not so sure about the wildlife, though. I saw some horses in a pasture and then a few birds but that is about it. I’m guessing you should go out of town more if you want to see some real wildlife.
Downtown Gunnison Colorado
Make sure part of your day trip from Gunnison includes the city of Gunnison itself. It has a very cute downtown area that has everything from local brewpubs to art galleries. From our commuter hotel, it was only three-quarters of a mile to walk so it is very easy to get to. I asked to be dropped off by the van and the staff was happy to do so. Gunnison has three solid blocks worth of stores and restaurants to stop at so this is easily an afternoon or morning activity.
My first stop was Gene Taylors. Get the current scoop on fly-fishing the local rivers here. Gene Taylors is a fly-fishing and outdoors shop on the Southwest end of town (the first part of downtown you will see as you drive in from the airport.) They have everything you need for fishing and hunting as well as ski and snowboard rentals for the local parks.
Next time I have a layover in KGUC, I’ll write about some of the fishing.
On a later trip, I was able to get out fishing for the day. We had a blast! Here’s a video from that trip.
Restaurants in Gunnison
The Bean Coffeehouse and Eatery
I wandered downtown Gunnison a little bit and walked into “The Bean” for a cup of coffee. Just a friendly heads up – if you go, get ready to see a lot of hippies and new age stuff. But if that doesn’t bother you, you’re in good shape.
Even though I just wanted a coffee, their menu pulled me in. I ended up ordering a ham and cheese crepe. It was very good and I highly recommend you try one yourself. If you are looking for something on the sweeter side, they have all the dessert crepes too like strawberry and cream and everyone’s favorite, Nutella.
High Alpine Brewing
After coffee and a crepe at The Bean, I ran across the street scoping out some ideas for dinner. There was a brew pub called High Alpine Brewing that had a great looking patio and wood fired pizza. I was immediately upset I just ate a crepe because the pizza looked amazing. I don’t drink on trips, but I would love to come back here and try some of their beer. The whole building smelled hoppy and delicious. A nice cool beer could top of your perfect day trip from Gunnison. Here are a couple pictures as well as their menu:
Looking for food around the hotel?
I kid you not, right next to the hotel is a gas station/restaurant/pot dispensary all tied into one. I was going to go over and grab a bite but … well, I passed. It was entertaining, though… if you like the Harold and Kumar series. Across the street is a city market, which is a higher-end grocery store. I bought two large fried chicken breasts and a side from their deli for about $6. Great deal. Keep this in mind. I know all you other pilots out there are cheap as heck.
Well, I got my 10,000 steps in for today. The last part of this article is a little foreshadowing of what is coming next time I layover in Gunnison. I did some research and found a few must-do items below.
More Vacation Ideas In Gunnison, Colorado
I picked up a bunch of brochures for my next trip. Basically, this is all the stuff I wish I knew about before I came so I listed them below for you:
River rafting at Scenic River Tours. They have two and three-hour trips ($63 and $49/adult) down the Gunnison River Valley. They also offer half day float fishing trips for $320 for one or $350 for two anglers.
Fly Fishing the Gunnison – If you know how to fly fish, you can go anywhere there is water. If you are new or not very good at it like me, then you may want to get a guide. I was given the card of Travis Snyder of High Moutain Drifters Guide Service and Gunnison Fly Fishing club by my new friend at Gene Taylors. You can reach him at 970-471-5829 or at highmtndrifters.com.
ATV and Snowmobile Rentals – $99 for two hours on a self-guided tour. 970-641-3525 or their website at coloradoadventurerentals.com. This is self-explanatory.
Horseback Riding – It’s just up the valley to the next town but you can make that happen. Harmels.com
Jeep Rentals – AlpenglowRentals.com offers delivery and self-guided Jeep tours. Call them at 844-You-Rent. I couldn’t find a price for a half day rental but they had a brochure in the hotel so I am sure they can arrange everything for you
Guided Fishing Trip on a Reservoir – Sport Fish Colorado offers a half-day (3 hour) fishing trip for $250 for the first person and $50 for each extra.
Last and certainy not least … Skiing in Gunnison Colorado. There are a few ski resorts in the Gunnison area. This should be obvious because half of our passengers seemed to be carrying downhill ski gear.
- Monarch Mountain $87 for a pass and rental
- Crested Butte Prices vary, but it was about $115 per day or $83 for half day
Other Day Trips
If you like the West, you may like these other posts:
For the Dakota’s, read these:
- Allentown, Pennsylvania
- Portland, Maine
- Charleston, West Virginia
- Downtown Greenville, South Carolina
Plus, these other day trips around the country