Cooper’s Ranch and the Neversink Trail
Aliases: Curecanti National Recreation Area
Cooper’s Ranch and the Neversink Trail, both part of the Curecanti National Recreation Area, provide access to an extensive mature cottonwood forest along the Gunnison River which can be terrific for wildlife viewing. This is some of the best deciduous forest in Western Colorado, and you can find a great diversity of breeding birds here including Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers, White-breasted Nuthatch, Black-headed Grosbeak, and even a few pairs of Least Flycatchers, which are quite rare this far west. In spring and fall, many other species of migrants might be found. Watch along the river for muskrats, beavers and striped skunks.
Habitat: Stream, Pond/Lake/Reservoir, Lowland Riparian, Grassland/Prairie
Directions: To get to Cooper's Ranch from Gunnison, head west on US 50 to mile post 151 (6 miles). Turn left at the sign and park at the bottom of the hill. Explore up- or downstream; there are some nice small ponds downstream. The Neversink Trailhead is half a mile to the east along US 50.
Delorme: 58 D1
Roads of Colorado: 100 C3
Dates of Access: Open all year
Ownership: National Park Service
Restrictions: Beware high water during the spring runoff season
Parking: Gravel parking lots
Lodging: Campgrounds in the Curecanti National Recreation Area or hotels in Gunnison
Handicapped Access: The Neversink Trail is wheelchair-accessible.