The Paonia River Park is the perfect place to enjoy the North Fork of the Gunnison River. Take advantage of the park’s picnic tables, boat ramp, and river access, and make your own memories. Come early to watch the North Fork Valley come alive in the sunlight, relax in the shade with your lunch after swimming in the river, or explore the park in the evening cool with family, friends, and your well-behaved dog! Please note that there is no camping or overnight parking allowed in the park.
The Paonia River Park is the product of community collaboration and partnership. Once an in-stream gravel mine, the North Fork River Improvement Association (now the Conservation Center) worked hard to reclaim the river, restore riparian habitat, and make the park a family-friendly recreation area. With the help of the Minnesota Ditch & Reservoir Company, the Conservation Center completed the Paonia River Park Restoration Project in 2013, transforming the former in-stream gravel mine into a healthy aquatic ecosystem. In 2016, the park expanded to include an interpretive trail system. This expansion allows visitors the opportunity to explore the riparian habitat even further along the corridor without disturbing precious wildlife habitat. The park now contains a shaded picnic area, outdoor classroom, boat launch, river viewing platform, an ADA compliant access ramp, and a one-mile trail.
The park is one of only two public access points along the North Fork river. Over 95 percent of land along the river is privately owned. The Conservation Center is committed to connecting the community to the river, maintaining a balance between natural and built structures, and ensuring project sustainability through public participation. We work hard to build the relationship between the North Fork of the Gunnison River and the community that surrounds it.
The Paonia River Park was built with a strong emphasis on accessibility with ongoing efforts to improve accessibility even further. We invite everyone of all abilities to come explore the park. The Paonia River Park is open year-round and each season brings its own special charm. Please stop by and let us know what you think!