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Curecanti National Recreation Area

Curecanti National Recreation Area
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General Information

Description - Three reservoirs, named for corresponding dams on the Gunnison River, form the heart of Curecanti National Recreation Area. Panoramic mesas, fjord-like reservoirs, and deep, steep and narrow canyons abound. Blue Mesa Reservoir is Colorado's largest body of water, and is the largest Kokanee Salmon fishery in the United States. Morrow Point Reservoir is the beginning of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison and below, Crystal Reservoir is the site of the Gunnison Diversion Tunnel, a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. Recently discovered dinosaur fossils, a 5,000 acre archeological district, a narrow gauge train, and traces of 6,000 year old dwellings further enhance the offerings of Curecanti.

Attractions - Each of the three reservoirs within Curecanti National Recreation Area has a character all its own, and each provides a different type of boating experience. Twenty mile long Blue Mesa Reservoir has with its 96 miles of shoreline. The easiest access to 12-mile long Morrow Point Reservoir is via the Pine Creek Trail. This trail consists of approximately 232 steps into the canyon. From the bottom of the stairs, the trail follows the reservoir for about a mile. There are several boat-in campsites in the canyon, so you can make this a full weekend outing. Like Morrow Point Reservoir, boating on Crystal Reservoir is limited to hand carried craft. The access trail for Crystal Reservoir is reached via the Mesa Creek Trail located near Cimarron.

Curecanti offers a variety of drive-in, boat-in, and hike-in campgrounds. Facilities range from Elk Creek Campground with showers, marina, restaurant, amphitheater and visitor center, to remote boat-in campsites on Blue Mesa Reservoir.

Curecanti National Recreation Area offers the hiker diversity of habitat, scenic vistas, wildlife and wildflowers. Interpretative signs help visitors understand the rich natural and cultural history of the area.

Recreation - Hiking trails, wildlife viewing, camping, picnicking, photography, boating, salmon and trout fishing, hunting, windsurfing, sailing, waterskiing, cross country skiing and ice-fishing.

Most people who visit Morrow Point Reservoir to tour the upper Black Canyon of the Gunnison do so on a 42-passenger pontoon boat on the Morrow Point Reservoir Boat Tour. For the more adventurous and very hearty, Morrow Point Reservoir can provide a fabulous canoeing or sea kayaking trip.

Climate - Weather can vary greatly throughout the day. Summer daytime temperatures range between 50 to 90F (10 to 32C), nights 40 to 60F (4 to 15C) Winter daytime temperatures range between -20 to +40F (-29 to +4C), nights -30 to +20F (-34 to -7C) Precipitation is minimal, brief afternoon thunderstorms can occur during the summer, snow accumulation varies greatly year to year. Layered clothing appropriate for the season is recommended.

Location - Curecanti National Recreation Area is located in western Colorado, west of Gunnison and east of Montrose. Traveling west from Gunnison, U.S. Highway 50 brings you into Curecanti. Curecanti sits adjacent to the east end of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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Number of People Encountered: 25-50 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Why I recommend ? - Good place for Kids - Nice campground with cool view of the lake - Kids can play in the water, to quench the heat - Good Information Center - There is a nice restaurant and shop in the marina - Shower and nice bath and toilet rooms - less crowd - boat rental - Nice Mexican restaraunt outside Gunnison

More Information

Contact Information:
Curecanti National Recreation Area, 102 Elk Creek , Gunnison, CO, 81230, Phone: 970-641-2337

Additional Information:
Colorado Lakes & Reservoirs - The lakes and reservoirs included in this list range from small mountain lakes surrounded by snow capped peaks, to large reservoirs with beaches and boating facilities.
Gunnison Area - Gunnison is located in the southwestern section of Colorado. It is the namesake of Captain John W. Gunnison, a surveyor for the U.S. Geological Survey, who was killed after scouting the area in 1853.
Lake City Area - This mountain hamlet lies between the Uncompahgre, Gunnison and Rio Grande National Forests in southwestern Colorado.
Montrose Area - Montrose lies in the fertile Uncompahgre River Valley. This area was once used by Ute Indians for farming and hunting. Today it serves the many ranchers and recreationists that use the surrounding terrain.

Curecanti National Recreation Area - Official agency website


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