The Blue Mesa Reservoir in Gunnison Colorado is the largest body of water in Colorado and has beautiful paddling, fishing, boating, camping, and sailing.
Blue Mesa Reservoir spans 20 miles and boasts over 96 miles of shoreline, perfect for posting up for a day of paddling and a picnic. The Blue Mesa is part of the Curecanti National Recreation Area, and offers two full service marinas — Elk Creek Marina and Lake Fork Marina — as well as Pappy’s Restaurant overlooking the lake by Elk Creek Marina. The surrounding Gunnison County offers the best of Colorado with truly outstanding and spectacular scenic areas, gold medal and wild trout waters, and great recreation.
Steven’s Creek is the closest camping on the Blue Mesa to Gunnison, Colorado. It has a few camping spots that you can reserve, and many more first come first serve camping spots. There are restrooms, but no showers, and a boat ramp as well as some mellow coves for paddling.
Elk Creek is the largest camping area on the Blue Mesa, and is 16 miles west of Gunnison on highway 50. This is the only campground with electricity (Loop D only) at Curecanti. Reservations are strongly recommended for Loop D in the summer months. First-come first-served sites are usually available, but may be hard to find on summer holiday weekends.
Dry Creek has a rocky beach with a protected cove for perfect for paddling. This spot also provides restrooms, picnic tables, and a is a nice spot to spend the day paddling and swimming. It’s located 15 miles west of Gunnison on highway 50.
Old Highway 50 Beach is the most popular “beach” on the Blue Mesa. It has a nice sandy area perfect for relaxing for the day and you can paddle to the Bay of Chickens from here. It’s next to the Elk Creek Campground and has accessible restrooms and camping areas. It’s 16 miles west of Gunnison.
Make sure to check the weather before paddling or spending time on the water on the Blue Mesa. Be aware that strong afternoon winds sometimes accompanied by storms, can cause hazardous conditions and always paddle and recreate with a PFD.