On the Rocks Field Trip: Unaweep Canyon

Title: Unaweep Canyon: On the Rocks Field Trip
Trip Leader: Pete Varney, Metro State College
Date: September 13, 2003
Publication: The Outcrop, September 2003, p. 23

UnaweepOutcropgroutcropcropUnaweep Canyon is located south of Grand Junction between the towns of Whitewater and Gateway. The canyon is visually remarkable because of its depth and near vertical sides. Your first thought on seeing it may be that the small stream that meanders in the bottom of the canyon could not possibly have cut it. Then too, drainage out of Unaweep is both to the east and west. There is a mystery here. On this field trip, we will examine evidence that Unaweep Canyon is an abandoned channel of the Gunnison and, possibly, the Colorado (Grand) River. It is a fascinating story about Tertiary geomorphology with an uplifting conclusion.

We plan to meet at the intersection of highways 50 and 141 at 9:00 am Saturday, September 13, 2003. The trip will be over by about 1:00 pm. It will take around 4 hours to drive from the intersection of I-70 ad C-470 to the meeting area.

If you are not an early riser you may wish to stay in Grand Junction and enjoy Colorado’s wine country too.