Trail Run Project Logo

Curecanti National Recreation Area

Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Weather Averages


High
 
Low
 
Precip
 
Days w/
 
J F M A M J J A S O N D

13 mi 20 km of trail 0 Recommended Routes

Easy Trails 2 Trails Intermediate Trails 6 Trails Hard Trails 0 Trails

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 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: 160 sites. Reservations can be made for Loop A and Loop D (Loop D sites have electricity).
  • Lake Fork: 90 sites. Reservations can be made for sites in the upper and middle sections.
  • Stevens Creek: 53 sites. Reservations can be made for Loop A sites.
  • Cimarron: 21 sites. All sites are filled on a first come, first served basis.
  • East Portal: 15 sites. All sites are filled on a first come, first served basis.
  • Dry Gulch: 9 sites. All sites are filled on a first come, first served basis.
  • Ponderosa: 28 sites. All sites are filled on a first come, first served basis.
  • Red Creek: Individual sites are first come, first served; group site by reservation only. There are 2 group sites.
  • Gateview: 6 sites. All sites are filled on a first come, first served basis.
  • East Elk Creek: 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.

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.

Maps & Guidebooks

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

Trails in Curecanti National Recreation Area - 8

Trail Run Project is built by runners like you. Add Your Trails

1.8 mi 2.9 km #1Curecanti Creek Trail
Intermediate/Difficult
Montrose, CO
Intermediate/Difficult
Montrose, CO
2.6 mi 4.2 km #2Hermits Rest Trail
Intermediate/Difficult
Montrose, CO
Intermediate/Difficult
Montrose, CO
1.5 mi 2.4 km #3Crystal Creek Trail
Intermediate
Montrose, CO
Intermediate
Montrose, CO
2.0 mi 3.2 km #4Dillon Pinnacles Trail
Easy/Intermediate
Gunnison, CO
Easy/Intermediate
Gunnison, CO
0.7 mi 1.2 km #5Mesa Creek Trail
Intermediate
Montrose, CO
Intermediate
Montrose, CO
2.5 mi 4.0 km #6Beaver Creek Trail
Intermediate
Gunnison, CO
Intermediate
Gunnison, CO
0.9 mi 1.4 km #7Pine Creek Trail
Intermediate
Gunnison, CO
Intermediate
Gunnison, CO
0.6 mi 1.0 km #8Gateview Trail
Easy
Lake City, CO
Easy
Lake City, CO

Photos of Curecanti National Recreation Area - 10

Trail Run Project is built by runners like you. Add Your Photos

Looking Downstream
Aug 3, 2019 near Montrose, CO
Viewpoint at the end of the trail
Aug 18, 2019 near Montrose, CO
Enjoy a phenomenal view of Black Canyon from the end of the trail.
Jun 1, 2017 near Montrose, CO
Morrow Point Dam
Aug 3, 2019 near Montrose, CO
Sweeping views at the top of Beaver Creek Trail.
Jul 10, 2018 near Gunnison, CO
Enjoy gorgeous visuals of Black Canyon almost immediately after starting down the Crystal Creek Trail.
Jun 1, 2017 near Montrose, CO
View of lake below.
May 16, 2019 near Montrose, CO
Mesa Creek Trail.
Feb 19, 2016 near Montrose, CO
Dillon Pinnacles rise out of the trail - Curecanti NRA. with permission from eliot_garvin
Mar 9, 2016 near Gunnison, CO
Side Creek on the hike.
Aug 3, 2019 near Montrose, CO