||The Gunnison Gorge, below the Black Canyon National Park in western Colorado, is a 14-mile wilderness journey combining spectacular canyon scenery with one of Colorado's finest Gold Medal fisheries. A mile hike down the Chukar Trail brings us to the river and the narrow canyon carved through the polished Protereozoic schist and gneiss formations. Mild rapids punctuate the crystal clear pools on the first day as we enter this secluded retreat. Our isolated camp provides a peaceful refuge to enjoy a sumptuous dinner after fishing or hiking.
The second day brings a narrowing canyon, a steeper gradient in the river, and exciting pool-drop rapids that appear one right after another. Depending on the water level, these Class III rapids demand either intricate maneuvering, or a wild dash through boat-swamping holes and waves. After the rush of whitewater, the Hall of the River King envelops us in a mystical silence prior to the canyon walls receding to rolling sage hills. Our lunch stop at the Smith Fork provides a fun opportunity to explore the waterfalls and drop pools in this side canyon. The trip concludes at the confluence with the North Fork.