There are three reservoirs that make up the Curecanti National Recreation Area which are each named for the dams they correspond to on Gunnison River. The west of the recreation area borders the Gunnison National Park's Black Canyon. There are a number of narrow, steep canyons, reservoirs and mesas in the area. There have been dinosaur fossils discovered in an archeological district of over six thousand acres, traces of dwellings that date back six thousand years and a narrow gauge train.
The Curecanti National Recreation Area has a number of campgrounds that offer hike in, drive in and boat in sites. East Elk Creek and Red Creek offer group camping. The Elk Creek Campground's Loop D has hookups for electricity. There is a fee of $12 each night, each site for camping in the area. The cost of camping is $18 a night when using Loop D. Reservations can be made for all the sites at the Curecanti National Recreation Area.
The Curecanti National Recreation Area is open all year round. The Elk Creek visitor's center is open Wednesday through Sunday from 8am until 4pm during the fall and winter. The facility is closed on federal holidays. During the spring the facility is open every day except for federal holidays from 8:30am until 4pm. In the summer the visitor's center is open every day from 8am until 6pm. The Elk Creek Visitor Center can be found sixteen miles to the west of Gunnison on United States Highway 50.
The Cimarron Visitor Center of the Gunnison National Recreation Area is open from 9am until 4pm intermittently through the middle of May until the end of September. This center is thirty-five miles to the west of Gunnison in Cimarron, Colorado on United States Highway 50. East Portal Road is closed for the winter from the middle of November until the middle of April.
There are a wide variety of animals in the recreation area such as mule deer, black bear, prairie dogs and mountain lions to name just a few. The only place an entrance fee is charged for the Curecanti National Recreation Area is at the East Portal where the fee is $15 each vehicle. The fee is good for seven calendar days and covers everyone in a single, noncommercial, private vehicle. There are annual passes available for the area that can be obtained from the park service to cover the entrance annually.
The costs of boat permits are $30 for an annual pass, $10 for a fourteen day pass and only $4 for a two day pass. There are fees for accessing the Blue Mesa Reservoir by boat, motorized and state registered vehicles in the Curecanti National Recreation Area. There are some exceptions to the fees charged with the proper passes.
Additional information about the facilities, fees and regulations governing the Curecanti National Recreation Area can be obtained by contacting the Federal Park Service of the Visitors' Centers for the park directly. Anyone in the Gunnison, Colorado area that loves the outdoors, fresh air and natural beauty should make it a point to visit the Curecanti National Recreation Area in Gunnison, Colorado.