Rocky Mountains

Gunnison Sage-Grouse Trail

A Special Place For A Special Bird

The Gunnison Sage-Grouse is a special bird. Formally described by science only in 2000, it evaded detection for decades because people looked at it without seeing it-they assumed all sage grouse were the same. But those with an eye and an ear for detail noticed that the Gunnison differs from its sister species in many small but significant ways-and that an undiscovered species of bird had been living right under their noses. To see in person what makes this bird unique, you have no choice but to come to Colorado: the bird is found almost nowhere else. You must come to the sage flats of the high Gunnison Basin, ringed by Colorado’s tallest peaks and drained by the river that carved the Black Canyon. In addition to the remarkable chest-heaving display of the grouse, you can find a remarkable diversity of birds in the area, from rosy-finches in winter to Lewis’s Woodpeckers and Least Flycatchers in summer. Some call Gunnison the recreation capital of Colorado-and if you visit, you will see why.