About a week ago we went south early one morning to check out a new area in Colorado - the Blue Mesa Reservoir down near Gunnison, Colorado. About a three and a half hour drive from our location in the Vail Valley - we left early because prior research showed us there were about 10 different camp sites to choose from and we wanted to secure a nice spot. The Blue Mesa Reservoir is an excellent place for fishing, boating, camping and more this area is also known as the Curecanti National Recreation Area - seen here on the national park service website.
We packed camp gear and enough food for about two nights of camping unsure what types of adventure this area would throw at us. My first selection of camp site was a complete fail when we pulled up to Lake Fork campsite all I saw were RVs and people loading boats into the lake below - DO NOT CAMP HERE! This probably the worst site for tent camping out of 10 different locations - maybe built for RV travelers with boats. Don't give up here - as we continued on to my second idea which was to camp near the lake over by Elk Creek (also where the visitor center was located thankfully). See the map below to get an idea of the size of the Curecanti Recreation Area - here is the camping map:
Camp site idea #2 didn't seem to please us as there was very little tree cover direct sunlight beat down on us, getting a bit frustrated I decided to head into the park's welcome center and ask for suggestions. This turned out to be a huge success and a grand idea - the park ranger pointed me in the direction of Ponderosa Camp site (about 7.0+ miles on a dirt road). Normally I shy away from dirt roads for more than 5 miles if I am far from home but after asking a few questions about this particular dirt road she informed me that the road is stable enough for people to take trailers 7+ miles back. We head west on 50 and turned off for Soap Creek road the entrance to the campsites. There are two options of camping back here - Ponderosa Campsite or even a few miles deeper Soap Creek Campsite where we ended up camping. For more information on locating these campsites - click here. We found a really sweet campsite with exceptional views of the river and tall canyon walls surrounding us. We pieced our camp together, preparing for pork chop dinners and adventured around our camp site - carefully with much caution for mountain lion, bears, deer and other critters wandering the forest with us.
After a nap in our hammock and a meal over our fire we head down to the lake side to explore the cool waters of the Blue Mesa Reservoir and watch the sunset. The Curecanti Rec. area is known for it's views and hikes of the Dillon Pinnacles - finger like spires coming out of the canyon walls all around the reservoir. You can see my panoramic image of the Dillon Pinnacles below - also click here for the link to the Dillon Pinnacles hike &
more hikes can be found here on the NPS site
With limited time we packed up after our first night out at Soap Creek and headed back to adventure throughout the day time while we traveled back to the Vail area. Below is a collection of images we took while we traveled back home - we stopped off on top of Monarch Mountain for an old gondola ride and some absolutely breath taking views and I can't forget to mention lunch in Leadville, Colorado a town everyone must stop in while driving thru this part of Colorado. Pictures for the rest of the post - thanks for reading about our adventures at Blue Mesa Reservoir