As a child, John Hendricks’ father would tell him tales of the beautiful red rock country in Colorado. It took him a while to finally see it with his own eyes, but when he and his family first came to Gateway, Colorado in 1995, they were moved by the beauty and history of the area, as well as by the spirit of its people. Mr. Hendricks knew that this would be home. But he also felt compelled to share this special place with others. Soon Mr. Hendricks began the design for a sustainable, outdoor recreation resort that would highlight the beauty and endless adventures of the area.
Gateway Canyons is located in Unaweep Canyon, one of the most unique red rock canyons in the world. The word Unaweep is a Native American term meaning “canyon with two mouths.” It is thought that the ancestral Colorado and Gunnison rivers may have cut through the soft red sandstone of the Uncompahgre Plateau, exposing stone dated to Precambrian times. This is said to be the only canyon in the world that is drained by two creeks; East Creek and West Creek, sending water off in opposite directions. Much like the nearby Colorado National Monument, our area has special recognition in Colorado geology. Ancient rivers eroded the rock away, exposing more than a hundred million years of the geologic record and fossils of dinosaurs and early amphibians.
Our town of Gateway, Colorado has a rich history steeped in the ancient peoples of the Fremont, Anasazi and Ute Native American tribes, who once made these canyons and plateaus their home. The first known homesteaders came to Gateway, Colorado in 1884. Gateway has played host to gangs of cattle rustlers who used these canyon walls as hideouts from the law, gold miners who tunneled deep into the earth with the hope of finding their fortunes and ranchers who have grazed thousands of cattle across Unaweep Canyon’s windswept grasslands. In 1903, homesteading families built a small, dirt-floored cabin to be used as a schoolhouse. The next year, the post office was established and the name “Gateway,” was given to the town, as it is a “gateway” to Colorado from Utah.
Gateway quickly became a strong community based around cattle ranching, farming and lumber milling. Later, uranium mining was the economic driver for the community. Today Gateway is becoming revitalized as it has opened its doors to the tourist community. Gateway Canyons Resort acts as the town’s anchor in welcoming visitors from around the world to experience the beauty and lifestyle of Western Colorado’s most amazing canyon country.