North Fork Valley

North Fork Valley

of Western Colorado

The North Fork Valley is a region on the Western Slope of Colorado that includes the towns of Crawford, Hotchkiss, and Paonia; all teaming with unique experiences you can't find anywhere else!


Welcome to the North Fork Valley Tourism Website by the North Fork Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Visit The North Fork Valley for a Spectacular Vacation
Charming B&Bs, restaurants serving farm fresh to table food, locally produced wines, art studios by renowned artists, music performances, and ongoing entertainment events and festivals make the three towns of Crawford, Hotchkiss, and Paonia of the North Fork Valley a special place to visit.   We are on the east side of Delta County, on the Western Slope of Colorado. 

The North Fork Valley is a beautiful and pristine area tucked away in the West Elk Mountains nestled between the North Fork and South Fork of the Gunnison River and two National Forests and the majestic Black Canyon National Park.  


Starting with river activities, enjoy our Gold Medal fishing on the North Fork of the Gunnison River. Try stand up paddling out of Hotchkiss.  Go on guided raft trips and fishing trips out of Crawford or at Pleasure Park near Hotchkiss.  We have experienced guides for all activities along the river or enjoy your own solitude at several accessible river spots in the National Forest and BLM land.  See more on Outdoor Activities.
Hiking and biking are favorite activities in the area.  Rent bikes in Paonia and find a bike trail leaving the town towards Jumbo Mountain.  Or hike our numerous hiking trials around all three towns. And for the heartier, hike down from Crawford's North Rim of the Black Canyon to the Gunnison River.  The North Rim of the Black Canyon is the more secluded, "road less traveled" and is a great area for camping.  More Black Canyon National Park.
A trip to the North Fork Valley is not complete without tours of our area wineries and organic farms and orchards, some of which have onsite Bed and Breakfast accommodations.   The North Fork Valley is recognized as an American Viticultural Area (AVA) with a climate and elevation conducive to producing high-end wines by a dozen local wineries.  Visit and grab a taste of wine and take home a bottle of your favorite using the West Elks AVA  map as your guide (map).  And try out our area brew pubs for beer and Big B's Delicious Orchards , a local manufacturer of hard cider.
While touring the wineries, also plan your trip around visits to some of the numerous organic farms and orchards.  The North Fork Valley has one of the highest concentration of organic growers, that are organized by the Valley Organic Growers Association (VOGA)  who provide both a printed and online directory of farms and tours at the area's Visitor Kiosks in each town.  Every town has a Farmer's Market to easily purchase local food, and typically arts and crafts.  And catch one of the The Learning Council's  Pop-up kitchens that serve vegan and glutton free lunches by our area creative chefs using locally gown food.  

Peaches, apples, cherries, plums, apricots and pears make up the bulk of the harvest from the North Fork Valley orchards.  Grapes for wine grow particularly well in our higher altitude vinyards. 
    North Fork Valley Winery  
The North Fork Valley hosts many major annual events but three are dedicated to celebrate our bountiful harvest.  Paonia hosts Cherry Days and the Mountain Harvest Festival and Big B's hosts "Hestival" between Hotchkiss and Paonia.  

In addition to an organic farmer belief system, we care about our beautiful North Fork Valley and enjoy having the Western Slope Conservation Center  and Citizens for a Healthy Community  help keep our area special.    

Budget time to check out the local art scene centered around the Paonia Creative District which is one of only twenty-three Creative Districts in Colorado.  The North Fork Valley Creative Coalition  based in Paonia and the Creamery Arts Center  in Hotchkiss anchor the art activities in the area.  A stroll down Paonia's Grand Avenue with historic buildings that house numerous art studios is a must.  The historical Creamery Arts Center  houses a beautiful and large collection of local artist's best work that is available for purchase. See more on Arts & Culture.


Or take it easy and grab a new or used book from our local bookstores and enjoy reading at one of several coffee shops serving locally roasted coffee.  All three towns have comfortable and quaint coffee shops, with some showcasing arts and crafts from local artists.  
Book Stores.
Coffee Shops
Do not forget to browse our local merchants that provide the more traditional goods to the more eclectic fine apparel, post cards, glassworks, etc. from our local creative artists.  Enjoy our local brew pubs for beer and our own local orchard creating fine hard apple cider.  Every town serves ice cream from our own local ice cream producer, Third Bowl Ice Cream  in Hotchkiss.  And each of the three towns has a Farmers Market.
Ice Cream
We have two historical museums, one in Hotchkiss that showcases Hotchkiss and Crawford history, and one in Paonia which includes a historical schoolhouse.  The three towns are 15 to 23 minutes from each other by car so a trip to the North Fork Valley provides easy access to everything the three towns have to offer, each with its own unique charm.  More on the Heritage and History of the area.
And while enjoying the daily activities, save some energy for evening fun with the available music and theatrical performances at the Blue Sage Center for the Ars  and Paradise Theater  in Paonia and the Creamery Arts Center  in Hotchkiss.  Local bands play at Big B's outdoor restaurant (great climate) between Hotchkiss and Paonia and at the Boardwalk in Crawford.  There is Picking in Park in Paonia during the summer months to name on of several music venues.
Now let’s talk about the area's numerous annual festivals and events.  Pioneer Days in Crawford, Cherry Days in Paonia, and the Delta County Fair and Rodeo  in Hotchkiss start the list.  April's outdoor “Hestival” at Big B's hosted with Picking in Park, the Mountain Harvest Festival followed by the Hotchkiss Sheep Dog Trials and Ute Trails Auto Show follow on Mother's Day weekend.  Art events occur throughout the year ending with the November three venue Holiday Arts and Craft Fair in Hotchkiss, followed in December by the "close the street" outdoor Art Show in Paonia add to the list.  Plan ahead and book your lodging early as these events are quite popular with the locals and visitors alike.   
B&Bs & Motels - Chamber Members
Click here for More Lodging Options

Area Restaurants serving Burgers, home cooking, TexMex, Sushi, Thai, Chinese, Mexican, farm fresh, and good ole fashion BBQ - Chamber Members
Click here for More Restaurant Options
Getting to the North Fork Valley from Denver or surrounding counties is part of the fun.  Enjoy coming to the North Fork Valley via the West Elk Scenic Byway.  The West Elk Loop Scenic and Historic Byway is a 205-mile National Forest Scenic Byway AND Colorado Scenic and History Byway. The Byway reaches its zenith at Kebler Pass, elevation 10,007 feet, open in the summer months and connects Paonia and Somerset to Crested Butte.  It's a great day trip from the North Fork Valley towns.

The North Fork Valley is 50 minutes from the Montrose Airport, and 60 minutes from the Grand Junction airport.  Aspen is two hours away by car over beautiful McClure Pass and Denver is four hours away either by I-70 or the more scenic McClure Pass that goes by the Redstone Castle and the Paonia State Park. And if you come by Gunnision and the North Rim of the Black Canyon to Crawford, here's a picture of why the three towns of Crawford, Hotchkiss, and Paonia are part of the West Elks Scenic Byway.

The North Fork Valley is beautiful, charming, and pristine with numerous activities to make for a special vacation. Come for a visit.  

This website is maintained with the help and support of Thin Air Web

Blue Diamonds next to a business indicates Membership in the Hotchkiss Chamber dba North Fork Valley Chamber.  More than one Diamond indicates that the business has donated additional time and money to the Chamber.  IT IS NOT A RATING.  See The Diamond List for details.