Gunnison lies in the center of the Colorado mountains, at the bottom of a wide river valley, about midway between Montrose and Salida. It is a hip and outdoor-oriented town known as a focal point for some of the finest recreation in Colorado. As the seat of Gunnison County and home to Western State College, 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 $19.5 million.
Gunnison boasts that the sun shines almost every day, but due to its valley location, it gets cold in the winter. In fact, Gunnison has occasionally recorded the coldest temperatures in the nation.
The Taylor and Gunnison Rivers are known as some of the best trout fishing waters in the Rockies. The Gunnison River graciously pours through the Gunnison tunnel, one of the greatest irrigation projects in modern times, bringing life and energy to this once barren landscape.
Crested Butte Ski Area opened in 1963, making Gunnison a destination for downhill skiers looking for a backcountry style ski experience and challenging slopes.
Today Gunnison County is rich with mineral deposits and grazing lands, and ranching still plays a prominent role in the economy, lifestyle and character of Gunnison.
The youthful spirit and imagination of Western State College adds vitality and enthusiasm for learning. Western State holds a reputation for personalized, hands-on education in a safe and friendly community. The huge "W" on the hillside is the largest collegiate symbol in the world overlooking the town from Tenderfoot Mountain.
There is enough recreation and beauty in Gunnison to keep the outdoor enthusiasts happy all year long. There are so many options that many visitors come back again and again.