Autumn in Unaweep

Limestone reefs spilling into lush valleys, red sandstone battlements, cottonwoods, scrub oak, wildflowers, wild turkeys, elk, cattle, horses, and hay fields make Unaweep a magical place for newcomers and old timers alike.

Unweep Canyon, a gash in the geological strata which runs southwest from Whitewater to Gateway, Colorado, has a human history that encompasses Native American tribes, Spanish missionaries, Mormon pioneers, and ranchers. ‘Unaweep’ is a Ute Indian word meaning ‘canyon with two mouths.’ The floor of Unaweep Canyon, which rises to about 7,000 ft in elevation near its middle stretch, then drops back down into Gateway at about 4,000 feet, comprises the highway 141 section of the Unaweep-Tabeguache Scenic and Historic Byway.

Rich in geological and cultural history, this narrow canyon is home to several ranching families with historical ties to the area. Unaweep is also frequented by hikers who enjoy the public lands in and around the canyon, hunters, motorcyclists, and destination tourists on their way to Gateway Canyons, a high-end desert resort in the tiny town of Gateway.

Limestone reefs spilling into lush valleys, red sandstone battlements, cottonwoods, scrub oak, wildflowers, wild turkeys, elk, cattle, horses, and hay fields make Unaweep a magical place for newcomers and old timers alike. And anyone wanting to step back into a more peaceful, reflective time, will even find themselves free of cell phone reception in this dramatic, rugged and mystical place.

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Rabbit brush, cottonwoods, and sandstone cliffs

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Canyon tributary

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Last hay of the season

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Work truck and cabin dwarfed by limestone cliffs

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Alluvial fields festooned with groves of cottonwoods

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Scrub oak paints hillsides in purple and scarlet hues

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Colorado’s little slice of Switzerland

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Black Angus

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Apple trees in Gateway

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Remnants of a well-to-do settler’s home at the foot of limestone battlements

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Snag in the red canyon

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Working ranch

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Hay stored for the cold months

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Looking south through Unaweep

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Cattle settling into winter pastures

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Defunct service station in Gateway

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Cottonwoods on the canyon floor

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Stables at Gateway Canyons

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Seas of sagebrush

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Corrals

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Retired tractor

 

*Free Range Report*

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