If you make a hard right as soon as you enter the Park from the south you will drive down a paved road to what is called the East Portal. This is the point where water from the various reservoirs to the east go through one final dam and becomes the Gunnison River. This is the water’s entry to the Park.
Driving down the road you drop from approximately 8,100 feet elevation (there was no phone service in most of the Park so my GPS apps wouldn’t work) to 6,500 feet in very short order. This is achieved by a series of switchbacks and, in spots, a 16 degree grade.
When I was back at the River Gorge near Canon City a few days ago I met a couple from southern Louisiana and they told me about this road, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have known about it.
As you will see, it was worth the trip!
If you look closely at the photo below you will see a man fishing in the middle of the river. This is actually a small river created by a “diversion dam” and is not the Gunnison. This is looking away from the dam.
These are looking towards the dam. There is also a tunnel under the dam but that is off limits to the public, hence – no photos.