Welcome to the North Fork Valley Chamber of Commerce
The North Fork Valley has been referred to in an article in Forbes magazine as “The Golden Triangle”. Hotchkiss is the northwestern point on the triangle; the other two points are made up of Hotchkiss’s sister towns of Crawford and Paonia.
What makes this area noteworthy is not only the spectacular surroundings, but the quality of life found in the North Fork Valley.
Old and new ways of life intersect and tend to complement one another. Tradition is still strong in the Valley and expresses itself, among other ways, in the many cattle and sheep ranches found here.
Cattle drives, with cowboys often on horseback, are still common in early summer and late fall/early winter, as ranchers move their cattle between valley pastures and the warm weather grazing lands of the high country.
But for every old-time cattle ranch, there’s an organic orchard or commercial garden, a vineyard, or a rancher raising elk, buffalo... or even yak!
Small-scale farmers and producers relying on hard work, creativity and a willingness to diversify, have forged a new economic direction for the North Fork Valley following the decline of the more-than-century-old coal mining industry.
And with each passing year this reputation has spread further, attracting a new breed of visitor – those seeking an authentic experience centered on an appreciation of the bounty of the Valley.
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).
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.
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. Crawford is host to the popular Crawford Pioneer Days. Hotchkiss has a multi-event celebration every year on Mother's Day Weekend anchored by the Hotchkiss Sheep DogTrials and the Ute Trails Auto Club Car Show.
help keep our area special. Citizens for a Healthy Community and Western Slope Conservation CenterIn addition to an organic farmer belief system, we care about our beautiful North Fork Valley and enjoy having the
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 in Hotchkiss houses a beautiful and large collection of local artist's best work that is available for purchase. See more on Arts & Culture.