Southwest Colorado Sights

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Curecanti National Recreation Area

Curecanti National Recreation Area Review

This nature preserve, named in honor of a Ute Indian chief, encompasses 40 miles of striking eroded volcanic landscape along U.S. 50, between Gunnison and Montrose. Three reservoirs were created by dams built on the Gunnison River in the 1960s: Morrow Point, Crystal Dam, and Blue Mesa, Colorado's largest lake at almost 20 miles long. You can windsurf, swim, fish, and boat in all three, although only Blue Mesa offers boat ramps. You'll find excellent fly-fishing at the east end of the recreation area, near Gunnison. Camping and hiking are also available. The Elk Creek Visitor Center on U.S. 50 provides more information. The Cimarron Visitor Center—at the western entrance to the recreation area, near the Morrow Point Dam—is more sporadically open, but if you catch it at the right time, you can view relics from the narrow-gauge Cimarron Canyon Railroad, including cars and livestock chutes. Call the Elk Creek Visitor Center for hours. Entrance to the recreation area is free, unless you use the east entrance, which is inside Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park ($15 entrance fee).

Updated: 10-01-2013

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