The newest of the western Colorado’s three NCAs, Dominguez-Escalante protects 209,610 acres, including 66,280 acres of wilderness in Mesa, Delta, and Montrose counties. Known for their scenic value, these lands are popular for those seeking the canyon country of the Uncompahgre Plateau. Massive red-rock bluffs hold geological and paleontological resources spanning 600 million years, as well as cultural and historic sites. Ute Tribes today consider these piñon-juniper covered lands an important connection to their ancestral past. Water cascades down canyon walls that drain the Uncompahgre Plateau via the Escalante, Cottonwood, Little and Big Dominguez Creeks. Thirty miles of the Gunnison River flow through the NCA as well. Explore the Old Spanish National Historic Trail, a 19th century land trade route. Spot wildlife, including desert bighorn sheep, mule deer, golden eagle, turkey, elk, mountain lion, black bear, and collared lizard.