Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area
Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area is a special place nestled within the remarkable canyon country of the Uncompahgre Plateau. Red-rock canyons and bluffs hold geological and paleontological resources spanning 600 million years, as well as many cultural and historic sites from the past 10,000 years. The Escalante, Cottonwood, and Little and Big Dominguez Creeks tumble through canyons that empty into the Gunnison River, which flows nearly 30 miles through this beautiful desert landscape. Along with impressive scenery, the area is home to a variety of wildlife, including mule deer, golden eagle, turkey, elk, mountain lion, black bear, and the collared lizard.
Dominguez Canyon Wilderness lies in the heart of Dominguez-Escalante NCA, providing habitat for desert bighorn sheep, threatened species of fish and cactus, and opportunities to view its natural wonders by foot or horseback. Water runs through Little Dominguez Creek year-round, creating a great habitat for many birds, mammals, and reptiles. Rock art on the canyon walls and archaeological sites on the mesas are evidence of thousands of years of Native American use, including hunting and travel from the Gunnison River Valley to the Uncompahgre Plateau. The wilderness also contains historic features left by the early miners and settlers who lived and worked throughout the area.