Curecanti National Recreation Area

Curecanti National Recreation Area near Gunnison
The Dillon Pinnacles rise from the Blue Mesa Reservoir. | Photo by nationalparks /

Staff writer

The Curecanti National Recreation Area consists of Blue Mesa Reservoir, Colorado’s largest body of water, and two smaller reservoirs on the Gunnison River east of Montrose.

Curecanti borders the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park on the west.

In addition to the reservoirs, the recreation area has large mesas and steep canyons, along with dinosaur fossils, ancient cliff dwellings and a narrow gauge railroad trestle.

The Blue Mesa Reservoir was created by Blue Mesa Dam and is 20 miles long with 96 miles of shoreline. It is the largest Lake Trout and Kokanee salmon fishery in the United States. The dam was completed in 1965 and flooded Sapinero, Cimarron and other small towns.

The Morrow Point Reservoir was created by Morrow Point Dam 12 miles below Blue Mesa Dam. It produces twice the hydroelectric power as the Blue Mesa Dam, which was created primarily for water storage.

The third reservoir, Crystal, was formed behind the Crystal Dam, which is six miles downstream from Morrow Point Dam and was completed in 1976.

Curecanti National Recreation Area
U.S. 50 and Colorado 92
Sapinero, CO 81230
(970) 641-2337