unaweep canyon

In partnership with three local climbersNeil Bradford, Randal Taylor, and Richard Smiththe Access Fund acquired three parcels in Unaweep Canyon in 1991 to conserve this unique climbing area and keep it open to public, passive recreation for generations to come. Unaweep Canyon is an important local resource in the Grand Junction area of Western Colorado. The property give climbers access to a line up of long, steep granite climbs in an area troubled by difficult access. While off the beaten track, the area sees more than 2,000 user days year-round. Not only is Unaweep a great area to climb in, it provides a major attraction along the Unaweep/Tabeguache Scenic and Historic Byway along CO-141.

history
Unaweep Canyon’s stunning beauty and 400’ to 1100’ granite cliffs had been for years the “secret” of local climbers. However, the Canyon began to attract developers who purchased some parcels with plans to subdivide the U-shaped valley. The Access Fund's work in Unaweep Canyon has taken place over three phases that have spanned the better part of a decade. The property is now climber owned and managed by the Access Fund, having been transferred after the dissolution of the Access Fund Land Foundation in 2010.

phase 1: In 1991, the Access Fund, working in collaboration with local climbers, purchased several rock formations, including Sunday Wall and Hidden Valley Wall, from private landowners in the Canyon. The acquisitions provided strategic public access to adjacent BLM lands and protected stunning 400 foot granite walls which hold unique rock climbing opportunities in the scenic Unaweep Canyon.

phase 2: After a 1993 survey, the county granted a subdivision exemption allowing the larger parcels to be split beyond rural zoning limitations of 40-acre lots. This process allowed the Access Fund to acquire an additional 5 acres including Fortress Wall and a 10-foot wide access easement from Sunday Wall to Fortress and Hidden Valley.

phase 3: In 1999, the originally purchased parcels were separated, and the access trail and rock climbing areas were transferred to the Access Fund Land Foundation (AFLF) and the remaining road side properties to the local climbers.

In 2010, the property was transferred to (and is still held by) the Access Fund, upon dissolution of the Access Fund Land Foundation.

location
Located 24 miles south of Grand Junction near the Utah Border, Unaweep Canyon carves its way through the Uncompahgre Plateau in Mesa County. The 15.8-acre property includes Sunday Wall, and Hidden Valley Wall. The parcels border private lands as well as BLM lands to the north of Fortress and Hidden Valley walls.

Driving directions: From Grand Junction: Drive south on US-50 E 8 miles to Whitewater and turn right on CO-141 S into the Canyon. Continue for 16.7 miles and park at a pullout on the north side below Sunday Wall. Follow the marked access trail from here. 
 

 

 

resources

Land Steward

Western Colorado Climbers Coalition

Area Guidebooks

Grand Junction Rock: Rock climbs of Unaweep Canyon and adjacent areas

Land Management Plan

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