North Fork Valley
Western Slope Undiscovered
The North Fork Valley lies hidden below the 12,000 foot peaks of the West Elk Wilderness, bordered by the Black Canyon of the Gunnison and a vast maze of desert canyons. This land is blessed with a climate that supports farms, orchards and vineyards; and a culture that supports artists of all disciplines. Whether you have come to experience nature, sip award winning wines, view fine art or visit an organic farm, there is no place in the world like the North Fork Valley.
The West Elk American Viticultural Area (AVA) ranges in elevation from 5,000 to 6,500 feet, making this one of the highest wine growing regions in the world. Cool nights and low humidity create a unique climate suited to grow the finest Pinot Noir and Riesling in Colorado. Follow The West Elk Wine trail to vineyards and wineries around the valley.
Locally Grown Food
Fresh organic produce are the staple foods of the North Fork Valley. Many organic farms dot the countryside. Organic orchards along the highway offer "you pick" peaches and delicious hand crafted cider. Dependent on the season, you can find cherries, apricots, peaches, plums, strawberries, apples, nectarines and many more of your favorite fruits growing on local trees and vines. Stay for dinner and pair a bottle of north fork wine with your favorite locally sourced meats.
Experience nature at its best around this scenic valley. A short drive through the countryside takes you to the edge of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Narrow, polished walls plunge 2,000 feet to the Gunnison River below. Breathtaking vistas are in no shortage on any of the nature trails along the rim. Just down steam lies the angler's paradise of the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area. Trout abound in theses gold medal waters. Hikers and Mountain bikers alike will enjoy the trail network at Jumbo mountain, just behind the town of Paonia. The ancient volcanic neck of Needle Rock juts 800 feet vertically out of the earth near the rural town of Crawford and can be accessed by nature trail.
Art and culture
A Colorado Creative District, the Valley is home to blacksmiths, painters, musicians, glass blowers, and artisans of all disciplines. Local exhibits can be found at the Blue Sage Center for the Arts in Paonia, and the Creamery Arts Center in Hotchkiss. Live music can be heard at the Blue Sage, the Paradise Theater, and outdoors in Town Park.
Western Slope SUP is pleased to be a part this amazing valley. Our neighborhood is full of phenomenal opportunities to recreate, taste great food and wine, and experience fine art. Stop in and let us share some friendly local knowledge during your next trip to the North Fork Valley!