Curecanti National Recreation Area

Boat tour with National Park Service, Curecanti National Recreation Area

Three reservoirs, named for corresponding dams on the Gunnison River, form the heart of Curecanti National Recreation Area. Panoramic mesas, fjord-like reservoirs, and deep, steep and narrow canyons abound.

Blue Mesa Reservoir is Colorado's largest body of water. Morrow Point Reservoir, just downstream from Blue Mesa is the beginning of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Next in line is Crystal Reservoir, below which is the site of the Gunnison Diversion Tunnel, a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark completed in 1909. At Cimarron, learn about the legacy of narrow gauge trains in opening the West.

Hiking trails, fishing, boating, windsurfing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and ice fishing make Curecanti a recreational draw. Other activities include wildlife viewing, kayaking, nature walks, rafting, horseback riding, climbing, camping and birdwatching. Be sure to enjoy the area’s "classified stable skies" for stargazing classes with a National Park Ranger at Elk Creek Visitor Center.

For more information about ranger programs and activities, contact the park at (970) 641-2337, extension 205 or visit the park website at www.nps.gov/cure.

Morrow Point Boat Tour 

The Morrow Point boat tour provides a chance to see the Black Canyon from the bottom offering spectacular views unmatched by any other experience in the area. These 1 ½ hour tours run twice daily (except Tuesdays) at 10:00 AM and 12:30 PM and are guided by a Park Ranger who will teach you about the geology, wildlife, the narrow-gauge railroad, and more.

Typically tours run early June through Labor Day and reservations open April 16. Walk-ons are not permitted.  

In 2014, Tours are scheduled to start on July 2 due to high waters. Call (970) 641-2337 extension 205 for start dates or to make a reservation. Special tours for educational groups are available upon request.

Boat Tour Fees:

  • $16.00 Adults
  • $8.00 Children 12 and under (Children must be 35 lbs. or over to ride the boats)
  • $8.00 Adults with Interagency Senior/Access Pass

*Boat Tour Fees are non-refundable

Curecanti Boat Rentals

If you prefer to explore the waters of Curecanti on your own, some areas are accessible to private boats. Boat rentals and more are available through Elk Creek Marina.

SAFETY CHECKLIST

  • Personal flotation devices (PFDs) of correct size and type for all passengers. PFDs are required for children under the age of 13 unless the child is below deck or in an enclosed cabin.
  • Paddle or oar ready for use
  • Bail bucket
  • Tools for minor repairs
  • Warm clothing in case of weather changes
  • Anchor and line
  • Remember, rangers are glad to inspect your boat for necessary items.
  • Operators of motorized vessels on Colorado waters must be at least 16 years of age. Persons 14-16 years of age may operate a motorized vessel if they have completed a boating safety course accepted by Colorado State Parks and have certification of course completion in their possession.
  • All craft must travel wakeless in the designated no wake buoy areas.

COMMON SENSE RULES

  • Always wear your PFD (children under 13- required).
  • Don't overload, stay within capacity limits of your craft.
  • Don't stand up in the boat.
  • If you have trouble maneuvering in the current, lighten your load.
  • Avoid getting sideways in the current.
  • On river sections, don't hesitate to portage.
  • Tie down loose items and secure your motor to your boat.

EMERGENCY INFORMATION

Report all accidents to a park ranger. Visitor contact stations are located at Elk Creek, Lake Fork, Cimarron and East Portal.

Emergency phone number: 911