The Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area was dedicated on August 12, 2009 by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. The NCA consists of 210,000 acres of protected land in Delta, Montrose and Mesa Counties. This National Conservation Area includes the 66,280 acre Dominguez Canyon Wilderness. This national resource is known for its spectacular canyon country of the Uncompahgre Plateau. Red-rock canyons and sandstone bluffs hold geological and paleontological resources spanning 600 million years, as well as many cultural and historic sites.
Draining from the heights of the Uncompahgre Plateau, the Escalante, Cottonwood, Little Dominguez and Big Dominguez Creeks cascade through sandstone canyon walls that form the heart of the NCA. The Gunnison River flows for 30 miles through the NCA, providing visitors fishing opportunities, as well as views of native wildlife, including desert bighorn sheep, mule deer, golden eagle, turkey, elk, mountain lion, black bear, and the collared lizard.. The Old Spanish National Historic Trail passes through this canyon country. The Old Spanish Trail was a 19th Century land route, this “Northern Branch” connected Santa Fe, New Mexico with Southern California.
Located just 6 miles from Delta on Highway 50, take Escalante Canyon Road to the south for access to the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area. From the Mesa County side, Bridgeport Road from Highway 50 provides access, as well as the Cactus Park Road from State Highway 141 from the west. The PDF below provides additional information on the National Conservation Area, and the Dominguez Canyon Wilderness. Also located in the NCA, the State of Colorado has State Wildlife areas, these include the Escalante State Wildlife Areas: West Walker Tract, Cap Smith Tract, East Walker Tract, Gunnison River Tract, Waterwheel Tract, and Harrison Tract.