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For a map of the Paonia area, click here.
Paonia is located on the Western Slope of the Rocky Mountains, at 5,645 ft. in elevation.
Along with Hotchkiss and Crawford, Paonia is one of the small towns that make up the North Fork Valley. The North Fork of the Gunnison River flows through Paonia and the valley. On both sides of the valley are higher mesas where many valley residents live.
The North Fork Valley is well-known for its fruit (pears, apricots, cherries, peaches, apples), grass-fed beef, vineyards and wineries, goats and goat cheese, and organic vegetables. You'll see the "Buy Fresh, Buy Local," bumper stickers everywhere! Students from The Culinary School of the Rockies intern at North Fork Valley farms in the summer and you may be able to attend one of their dinners.
There are three active coal mines west of Paonia. The mines employ over 1,000 people to produce the quality, high BTU, low sulfur, low mercury coal. The coal travels by train through Paonia and the North Fork Valley. You can't miss the coal train!
Paonia is at the foot of 11,400 ft. Mt. Lamborn and is the gateway to the West Elk Wilderness (east). To the northeast is the Grand Mesa, the highest plateau in the world, with over 3,000 lakes. To the south are the deep canyons cut by the rivers coming out of the Rockies, including the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.
All of this means the opportunity for recreation: hiking, mountain biking, fishing, hunting, and jeeping.
For more information about Paonia and the North Fork Valley, visit: http://www.paoniachamber.com/page.cfm?pageid=18602
For information about Delta County (Paonia), visit:
Other useful links:
http://www.merchantherald.com/ Local newspaper
http://www.vogaco.org/ The Valley Organic Growers Association
http://www.slowfoodwesternslope.org/ Slow Food Western Slope
http://www.theconservationcenter.org/ The Conservation Center