Curecanti National Recreation Area

Written by on May 1, 2015 in CO Outdoor Adventures - Comments Off on Curecanti National Recreation Area

Sparkling blue waters, soaring mountains, needle spires and pristine wilderness — these words capture the natural wonder of Curecanti National Recreation Area in Southwestern Colorado. At the heart of Curecanti is a trio of reservoirs along the Gunnison River. Blue Mesa Dam, situated just above the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, is at the head of a 9,000 acre lake — the largest lake in the state of Colorado. Morrow Point Reservoir is next in the chain of lakes, followed by Crystal Reservoir. The three dams (Blue Mesa, Morrow Point and Crystal Dam) provide plenty of hydroelectric power for southwestern Colorado.
Of course the major draw of the three reservoirs is fishing. The reservoirs are stocked with rainbow trout and the famed Kokanee salmon. Lake trout and Mackinaw are also plentiful. Boating and windsurfing are popular activities in the summer months. If you don’t have your own boat, you can rent one at either the Elk Creek or Lake Fork Marina.

Curecanti is bordered on the north by the West Elk Wilderness, the 5th largest wilderness area in Colorado. On the south, Curecanti is bordered by the Uncompahgre National Forest and the soaring peaks of the San Juan Mountains. These remote regions are mostly only accessible on foot and are a haven for hundreds of species of birds, mammals and reptiles. If you like birds, you can find a rookery of great blue heron in the cottonwoods at the headwaters near Neversink. Crystal Reservoir is a haven for elusive river otter and bighorn sheep. West Elk Wilderness provides critical winter range for deer, elk and bighorn sheep.

The area is laced with hiking trails. For the more adventurous, backpacking trips into pristine wilderness areas can be amazing. There are many scenic drives through the park, as well as a great scenic boat trip starting at Morrow Point in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.

There are a dozen campgrounds or more in Curecanti National Recreation Area, however, if you prefers a soft bed to roughing it in the wilderness, the towns of Gunnison and Montrose offer plenty of places to stay, as well as a wide range of dining and shopping opportunities.

Other attractions in the area include:
The Grand Mesa
Fishing in the Blue Mesa Reservoir
Colorado Fruit and Wine Country
Colorado National Monument

Curecanti National Recreation Area
National Park Service
102 Elk Creek
Gunnison, CO 81230
Phone: (970) 641-2337

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