Curecanti National Recreation Area

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J F M A M J J A S O N D

13 mi 20 km of trail 0 Featured Hikes

Easy Trails 5 Trails Intermediate Trails 2 Trails Hard Trails 1 Trail

Home to Crystal, Morrow Point, and Blue Mesa reservoirs, the Curecanti National Recreation Area is a destination for water-based recreation in the Rocky Mountains. This park offers a wide variety of activities such as trout and salmon fishing, boating, camping, and bird watching to enjoy the areas surrounding the Gunnison River. As the largest body of water in Colorado, Blue Mesa Reservoir is home to a number of different ecosystems to explore.

To learn more about Curecanti National Recreation Area, visit www.nps.gov.

Local Info

Visitor Centers:
Opening and closing dates and hours vary by season for the visitor centers at Curecanti National Recreation Area. Check the park's website for current operating hours.

  • Elk Creek Visitor Center: Open year round. Days and hours vary by season.
  • Cimarron Visitor Center: Open seasonally. Days and hours vary by season.

Fees & Passes:
Entrance to Curecanti National Recreation Area is free. If traveling to East Portal through the Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park, there is an entrance fee of $15.00 per vehicle that is valid for seven days and covers all the individuals in that vehicle. For more information on National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Passes and Boat Permits required for boating access, click here.

Visiting Tips

Curecanti National Recreation Area is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, weather permitting. East Portal Road is typically closed starting mid-November through mid-April. Current conditions and additional information on reservoir ice thicknesses can be found at the Curecanti website.

Camping & Lodging

Camping:
There are ten campgrounds in the park with over 350 total campsites with a number of amenities for RVs or tent camping. Seasonal availability varies between campgrounds so check the website for more information and specific details on each campground, including how to make reservations.

  • Elk Creek: $16 -$25 per night per site, 160 sites. Reservations can be made for Loop A and Loop D (Loop D sites have electricity).
  • Lake Fork: $16-$19 per night per site, 90 sites. Reservations can be made for sites in the upper and middle sections.
  • Stevens Creek: $16-$19 per night per site, 53 sites. Reservations can be made for Loop A sites.
  • Cimarron: $16 per night per site, 21 sites. All sites are filled on a first come, first served basis.
  • East Portal: $16 per night per site, 15 sites. All sites are filled on a first come, first served basis.
  • Dry Gulch: $16 per night per site, 9 sites. All sites are filled on a first come, first served basis.
  • Ponderosa: $16 per night per site, 28 sites. All sites are filled on a first come, first served basis.
  • Red Creek: $16 per night for individual site, $28 per night for group site, 2 sites. Individual site is first come, first served; group site by reservation only.
  • Gateview: No fee, 6 sites. All sites are filled on a first come, first served basis.
  • East Elk Creek: $53 per night, single group campsite. Reservations are required and must be made at least three days in advance.

Curecanti also offers boat-in and backcountry camping at each of the reservoirs. For more information, click here.

Lodging:
There is no lodging available within the recreation area other than at the campgrounds. More lodging options can be found in nearby communities of Gunnison and Montrose.

Outfitters, Tours, & Shuttles

Guided Tours:
Curecanti National Recreation Area offers a ranger-led boat tour on the Morrow Point Reservoir through the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. The tour is lead twice per day starting at 10 am and 12:30 pm, every day except Tuesday. Tours are seasonally dependent, starting the beginning of June and ending after Labor Day. For more information on start and end dates or special tours for educational groups, call (970) 641-2337 x205, or visit the park's website.

Boat Tour Fees:
  • Adults: $24
  • All children 12 and under (children need to be 35 pounds or heavier): $12

Maps & Guidebooks

For more information on trails in the recreation area or to download a detailed map, visit the park's website.

Food & Drink

Pappy's Restaurant and Pub is located at the Elk Creek Marina and is open from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. Other dining options can be found in the nearby towns of Montrose and Gunnison.

Other Activities

Visitors to Curecanti National Recreation Area looking for other ways to explore the reservoirs will not be disappointed by the variety that the park has to offer. Boating, fishing, horseback riding, backcountry camping, and wildlife viewing are among the many activities that the park affords depending on the season. Visit Curecanti's website for more information on the park's other activities. For those looking for other activities in the area, be sure to check out the great opportunities for mountain biking and rock climbing right up the road in Gunnison.

Trails in Curecanti National Recreation Area - 8

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Gunnison, CO
2.0 mi 3.2 km Gunnison, CO
Unknown
Update
Montrose, CO
1.8 mi 2.9 km Montrose, CO
All Clear
Update
97 days ago
Montrose, CO
1.5 mi 2.4 km Montrose, CO
Unknown
Update
2.5 mi 4.0 km
#4 Beaver Creek Trail
Gunnison, CO
2.5 mi 4.0 km Gunnison, CO
Unknown
Update
2.6 mi 4.2 km
#5 Hermits Rest Trail
Montrose, CO
2.6 mi 4.2 km Montrose, CO
Unknown
Update
0.9 mi 1.4 km
#6 Pine Creek Trail
Gunnison, CO
0.9 mi 1.4 km Gunnison, CO
Unknown
Update
0.7 mi 1.2 km
#7 Mesa Creek Trail
Montrose, CO
0.7 mi 1.2 km Montrose, CO
Unknown
Update
0.6 mi 1.0 km
#8 Gateview Trail
Lake City, CO
0.6 mi 1.0 km Lake City, CO
Unknown
Update

Photos of Curecanti National Recreation Area - 14

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