The Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area encompasses 209,610 acres of BLM-managed land in Mesa, Delta and Montrose counties in western Colorado. Within the NCA, 66,280 acres make up the Dominguez Canyon Wilderness Area, which was part of the Dominguez Canyon Wilderness Study Area. Long known for their scenic value, these lands are popular for those wanting to see the 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.
Ute Tribes today consider these pinyon-juniper covered lands an important connection to their ancestral past. The Escalante, Cottonwood, Little- and Big Dominguez Creeks cascade through sandstone canyon walls that drain the eastern Uncompahgre Plateau. Nearly 30 miles of the Gunnison River flow through the NCA. The Old Spanish National Historic Trail, a 19th Century land trade route, lies within the NCA. A variety of wildlife call the area home, including desert bighorn sheep, mule deer, golden eagle, turkey, elk, mountain lion, black bear, and the collared lizard.