Blue Mesa Reservoir is part of the Curecanti National Recreation Area. It is formed by three reservoirs, named for corresponding dams on the Gunnison River. The national recreation area borders Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park on the west. Panoramic mesas, fjord-like reservoirs, and deep, steep and narrow canyons abound. Recently discovered dinosaur fossils, a 6,700-acre (20 km2) archeological district, a narrow gauge train, and traces of 6000 year old dwellings further enhance the offerings of Curecanti.
Reservoirs & Dams In Curecanti NRA
Blue Mesa Reservoir is Colorado's largest body of water. Created by Blue Mesa Dam, Blue Mesa Reservoir is 20 miles (32 km) long, has 96 miles (154 km) of shoreline, and is the largest Lake Trout and Kokanee salmon fishery in the United States. Blue Mesa Dam was completed in 1965, becoming the first large dam built along the Gunnison River. The Black Canyon of the Gunnison begins below Blue Mesa Dam.
Twelve miles below Blue Mesa Dam is Morrow Point Dam. Morrow Point Dam was completed in 1967 creating narrow Morrow Point Reservoir. While the primary purpose of Blue Mesa Dam is to store water, the primary function of Morrow Point Dam is to produce hydroelectricity. It has about twice the power capacity of Blue Mesa Dam.
Crystal Dam is a double curvature thin arch dam located six miles (10 km) downstream from Morrow Point Dam. Crystal Dam is the newest of the three dams in Curecanti; construction on the dam was finished in 1976, forming Crystal Reservoir. Below Crystal Dam is the East Portal of the Gunnison Tunnel, a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. Just below East Portal is the eastern boundary of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.
There are three visitor centers within the recreation area, all operated by the National Park Service. Elk Creek Visitor Center is located 16 miles (26 km) west of Gunnison, Colorado on U.S. Highway 50 and has displays on the natural and cultural history of the area. Cimarron Visitor Center (open during summer months only) is located in Cimarron, Colorado near Morrow Point Dam. The visitor center has narrow gauge railroad cars and engines on display. There are also two marinas and five boat launches along the shores of Blue Mesa Reservoir. Wiki