BLM Camping

Gunnison River Bluffs

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is responsible for 1 in every 10 acres of land in the U.S.

Under President Truman, the Bureau of Land Management was established, and 1 in 10 acres of American land was set aside for public enjoyment. To discover the location of Bureau of Land Management campgrounds in your area, simply enter “BLM camping near me” into your search engine. You will find that many BLM sites offer free camping while others charge only a small fee. There are also sites for BLM RV camping. Reservations are required for some sites, and amenities will vary. 

The Gunnison River Bluffs are located south of Grand Junction along the Gunnison River. Visitors can enjoy hiking, biking, horseback riding, and rock climbing as well as camping. There are historical sites and wonderful scenic views as well as a diversity of landscapes, from arid terrain to lush riparian areas. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is located nearby.

What to See and Do

What to See and Do

Hiking and BikingHiking and Biking

The Old Spanish Trail

The Old Spanish Trail plays an enormous role in the history of the Western United States. It was used by Spanish explorers in the 17th century, Spanish priests in the 18th century, and American traders in the first half of the 19th century. The path winds through a desert landscape rich with native plants and animals. 

Length: 7 miles

Intensity: Moderate

Gunnison Bluffs River Trail

Gunnison Bluffs River Trail includes enough elevation gain to provide a challenging climb as well as wonderful views of scenic river canyons. Mainly a dirt trail, it does have rockier sections. Visitors will encounter numerous rock shelters along the trail. 

Length: 11.1 miles round trip

Intensity: Difficult

Fishing and BoatingFishing and Boating

The Blue Mesa Reservoir is located between Montrose and Gunnison and provides excellent fishing as well as opportunities for canoeing, paddling, and whitewater rafting. There are many kinds of trout including brook, brown, rainbow, lake, and cutthroat. Yellow perch and kokanee salmon can also be found.


The Black Canyon features challenging vertical faces carved over the last two million years by the Gunnison River. It is best suited for experienced climbers. Hartman Rocks provides rock climbing and bouldering for all levels. The rock faces vary from tough granite to crumbly areas. Bolted routes vary from very easy to very hard.

Wildlife ViewingWildlife Viewing

Along the Old Spanish Trail and higher parts of the Gunnison River Bluffs Trail, visitors will see prairie dogs and lizards in the mostly desert terrain. There are also lovely desert flowers in season. Caution should be taken as there may be scorpions. Along the river, the landscape is lush, and there are deer, birds, and beaver as well as a variety of birds and a diversity of local flora.


The Sunset View Overlook at the Black Canyon National Park provides both picnic tables and a fantastic view. It is ADA-accessible.

Horseback RidingHorseback Riding

Both the Old Spanish Trail and the Gunnison River Bluffs Trail welcome horseback riders. The Old Spanish Trail consists of an easier dirt trail, whereas the Gunnison River Bluffs Trail has rocky sections and steeper inclines.


Bureau of Land Management Camping

RV Camping Caravan Icon

RV camping is possible near the Gunnison River Bluffs at the Mill Creek Campground. Located in a beautiful valley, the site has 23 campsites. It includes a hand pump for potable water, trash dumpsters, and vault restrooms. There is public fishing access to the Gunnison River nearby, and the campground is near the town of Gunnison. Picnic tables and fire rings are provided.

Free Camping Campground Icon

Bureau of Land Management free camping sites near Gunnison include the Cottonwood Grove Campground, which has six sites, including one that is ADA-accessible. It is free, and no reservations are required.

RV Rentals Near Gunnison River Bluffs Plan your next adventure

Planning Your Trip

Credit: Vanna Mae, @vannamaeart

Planning your Gunnison River Bluffs BLM trip

If you are not used to being at elevation, be aware that altitude sickness can be an issue. Therefore, plan to spend a few days acclimating before engaging in strenuous activities. Drinking plenty of water can alleviate the symptoms as well as preventing dehydration caused by the arid climate. 

Be aware of your surroundings. Cellphone service may not be available in all areas, so plan accordingly. Also, you may encounter bears, snakes, or scorpions, so check before sitting down or resting, and don't leave your shoes outside. Before you head out on your trip, check out our blog for all you need to know about BLM camping.

Leave No Trace Leaf

Visitors to the Gunnison River Bluffs should clean up after themselves and minimize their impact on this natural area. They should pack out all trash and dispose of waste properly. Any human or dog waste should be buried at least 200 feet from the water. Do not confront wildlife. Remember, this is their home where you are the visitor, so respect their space. By following these rules, you contribute to the maintenance of a pristine environment. One of the best features of BLM camping in this region is the deep connection that you will experience with nature. You will enjoy the quiet serenity of the trails and campsites and the vast scenic vistas. In order to maintain this ambiance, preserve the ecosystem, and "leave no trace," no motorized vehicles are allowed in the Gunnison River Bluffs area.

Leave No Trace

Gunnison River Bluffs Location

From Grand Junction, visitors should take Hwy 50 S to 28 1/2 Road and take a right. Then take a left onto B Road and follow the signs to the parking area. 

Ready to visit the Gunnison River Bluffs? An RV rental is a great way to experience your destination. Not only will you be close to the action, but at the end of a long day exploring, you’ll have your RV to return to for the night where you’ll enjoy a kitchen, bathroom, and nice soft bed. Not sure about renting an RV? Here’s a step-by-step guide to renting an RV with RVshare.