Land Acquisition & Protection

Photo Courtesy of:
John Dickey | Indian Creek, UT

Unaweep Canyon Conservation Easement

Over the course of 25 years, Access Fund has protected key climbing areas in Unaweep Canyon in partnership with local climbers and Western Colorado Climbers Coalition (WCCC). Today, 50 acres are permanently protected with ownership by WCCC and a conservation easement held by Access Fund to back up WCCC’s long-term commitment and ensure conservation and climbing access into perpetuity. The 50 acres includes eight cliffs and approximately 200 high-quality granite climbing routes. Unaweep Canyon is an important local resource in the Grand Junction area of Western Colorado. The property gives 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.

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. Access Fund purchased the cliffs known as Sunday, Fortress, and Hidden Valley in 1991 in partnership with three local climbers. Further west, WCCC secured the Upper Mothers Buttress with the help of Colorado climbers John and Marti Peterson in 2010. Then in October of 2014, WCCC completed a long negotiation to purchase the Lower Mothers Buttress and Television Wall areas with a $134,200 Access Fund Climbing Conservation Loan. To consolidate ownership, Access Fund transferred its parcels to WCCC and recorded a conservation easement over the combined holdings in 2015.

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 pull out on the north side below Sunday Wall or continue a half mile and turn right into the Mother’s Buttress trail head. Follow the marked access trails from here.