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Gunnison, Co. was named after and honors the life of John W. Gunnison who first explored the region searching for a transcontinental railroad route. Mr. Gunnison stayed for only three days in 1853 and was never to return to the town and region that would bear his name. He met his fate at the hands of renegade Indians in Utah several months after leaving Gunnison.

Gunnison Country first began to boom in the 1870s along with the rush of mining activity in Colorado. The Ute Indians had been forced out of the area and many ranchers, traders and miners began to move in. Gunnison became the official seat of Gunnison County on May 22, 1877. In 1880 the railroad arrived, welcomed by not only miners but by the ranchers and farmers as well.

Today, Gunnison is rather like a home on the range surrounded by ski areas and a national park. The city, which feels like a cattleman's town, is the kind of place where you don't feel like a tourist as much as somebody visiting the folks.

It's a great base camp for exploring a treasure trove of natural and man-made attractions. To get there, you probably have to cross Monarch Pass, where you'll find good skiing in winter. Head north from town and you'll end up in Crested Butte, famous for its extreme terrain.

But head west and the valley drops away into the Curecanti National Recreation Area, Blue Mesa Reservoir and the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. The reservoir, Colorado's largest man-made lake, in the summer is full of canoes, sailboats, pontoon and motor boats, and people water-skiing, fishing, even parasailing in the refreshing water.

Map: Gunnison

Region: Southwest Regional Information

County: Gunnison

Proximity to other towns: Located 148.6 miles from Colorado Springs, 22.7 miles from Crested Butte, 28.7 miles from Pitkin, 40.5 miles from Somerset, 40.5 miles from Marble

Population: 5,309

Elevation: 7703 feet

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