Descend East Portal townsite road for glimpse at history

The Gunnison River flows over the diversion dam at the East Portal of the Gunnison Tunnel. Free tours of the East Portal townsite are being offered every weekend through September by the National Park Service.

Once you get past the drive, history comes alive at the East Portal.

Most of us know the East Portal of the Gunnison River as a spot for great fishing and a bit of interesting history.

Of course, we make the nerve-defying trip down that serpentine alley only a few times each summer, not once a day as was done when the Gunnison Tunnel was being built a century ago.

The National Park Service knows what we don’t, and this summer you can find out what a miner’s life was like at the end of the road.

Rangers from the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park are offering free tours of the East Portal townsite every Friday through Monday until September.

And they won’t ask you to walk inside the six-mile long tunnel.

The drive is scary enough.

WHAT: Free tours and historic programs about the East Portal townsite at the bottom of the Black Canyon.

WHERE: East Portal of the Gunnison Tunnel, about six miles east of Montrose on U.S. Highway 50. Watch for signs saying Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

WHEN: Two-hour programs at 10 a.m. every Friday through Monday through September.

HOW: Space is limited, call to pre-register at 970-249-1914, ext. 423.


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