Scenic USA - Colorado

Blue Mesa Reservoir

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Blue Mesa Reservoir - Curecanti National Recreation Area, Colorado

Photos by Albert Yanowich Jr.
Albert Yanowich Photography

     Nearly a half dozen tributaries feed the Gunnison River as it flows westward to join the Colorado River at Grand Junction. The river is dammed three times before it makes its journey through the famed Black Canyon of the Gunnison, a gorge noted for its narrow opening, Blue Mesa Reservoir - Curecanti National Recreation Area, Colorado sheer cliff walls and incredible depths. A series of dams has tamed a section of the powerful river, creating the Curecanti National Recreation Area and the largest lake in Colorado. This view at the Pinnacles Rest Area paints a chilly scene alongside the Blue Mesa Reservoir. U.S. Route 50 cuts through the heart of the Curecanti NRA providing access to boat ramps, campgrounds, picnic areas, hiking trails and a variety of scenic viewpoints along the canyon rim. With Sapinero State Wildlife Area and the Gunnison National Forest just to the north, Blue Mesa Reservoir extends its long arms through narrow canyons into a sagebrush steppe, an area marked by tall mesas and a land of big horn sheep and fragile wildflowers.
      Attracting nearly a million visitors a year, Curecanti NRA offers seven trails that invite hikers to explore this diverse land. Boat tours begin with a hike to the Pine Creek dock, offering trips twice a day through peak season. A leisurely ride on the Morrow Point Boat Tour offers a narrated tour that extends into the Black Canyon.

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