Curecanti National Recreation Area
Three reservoirs, named for corresponding dams on the Gunnison River, form the heart of Curecanti National Recreation Area. Blue Mesa Reservoir is Colorado's largest body of water, and hosts the largest Kokanee Salmon fishery in the United States. Morrow Point Reservoir and Crystal Reservoir, six miles further downriver, completes this 3 dam system which produces enough electricity to support a community of 240,000. East Portal is the site of the Gunnison Diversion Tunnel, a National Historic Civil Engineering marvel of its era.
There are several campgrounds with boat-in, drive-in and hike-in sites. Group camping is available at Red Creek and East Elk Creek. Electric hookups are in Loop D at the Elk Creek Campground. The camping fee is $12.00 per site, per night. Loop D is $18.00 per night. Reservations can be made for Elk Creek and Stevens Creek sites, and for the East Elk Creek and Red Creek group sites through National Park Service. See above for details about the process. Interagency, Senior and Access Pass discounts apply.
Boating and Water Recreation
Blue Mesa Reservoir is the largest body of water in Colorado, and combined with Morrow Point and Crystal Reservoirs, offers vast recreational opportunities including motor-boating, sail boating, windsurfing and jet skiing in the summer, to snowmobiling and ice fishing in the winter. Check all boating and fishing regulations before heading out on the water.
Marinas and boat put-ins are located throughout Blue Mesa with easy access to the reservoir. Morrow Point and Crystal Reservoirs have trickier access, but many people enjoy kayaking and fishing using small, hand-carried crafts. Ranger-led boat tours are available in the summer on Morrow Point Reservoir. Call the Elk Creek Visitor Center at (970) 641-2337 ext. 205 for more information.
Curecanti offers hiking through diverse terrain at a wide variety of skill levels. Trails within Curecanti National Recreation Area are pet-friendly (leash required) and offer great opportunities to view unique geological formations and the reflecting waters of the surrounding lakes.
Scenic sections of U.S. Highway 50 are adjacent to Blue Mesa Reservoir. A short detour to Cimmarron will take you by a railroad exhibit and a view of Morrow Point Dam. Continuing on Highway 50 offers views of wild geologic formations and panoramic vistas of the surrounding mountains. For views of Morrow Point Reservoir, turn onto Highway 92 at Blue Mesa Dam heading toward Black Canyon's North Rim.
Visit the Curecanti National Recreation Area website at www.nps.gov/cure.
Morrow Point Boat Tour
Join a Park Ranger for a leisurely boat tour on Morrow Point Reservoir, You will travel seven miles toward the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, where canyon walls tower above you. Your guide will share the stories of the geologic history, wildlife, early pioneer life, narrow gauge railroads, and the creation of reservoirs.
Ranger-led activities are a great way to learn about the park. Overlook talks and campfire programs are offered in the summer and special programs are offered throughout the winter. Check with a ranger for more information.