It was day 8 of our spring trip and 2400 miles (3862 km) had been driven in those eight days. It was time to spend a day for the dogs. The trip had taken its toll on all of us. We were cooped up and ready to stretch our legs. Fortunately day 8 had us visiting Curecanti National Recreation Area in Colorado. The main reason I chose the national recreation spot was its affinity for dogs. Every trail is dog friendly as well as the three reservoirs that make up the recreation area.
We started out our day at the Neversink Trail. At the trail head there is a nice picnic spot as well as bathroom facilities. The path leads off into the forest, trailing along the Gunnison River. For the most part the trail is tranquil, however the occasional sounds of traffic from the highway can be heard. The entire trail is 1.5 miles (2.4 km) round trip. The beginning of the path is quite easy, and well cleared while the latter part of the trail was a little over grown with brush and still had some snow as well as muddy patches. It was late April at the time of our visit, so perhaps the trail had not been cleared after the winter.
There is access to the water if you have a pup who likes to swim. You will also want to keep an eye out for blue herons as there is a colony that lives near the trail. I saw one blue heron during out visit but the dogs missed it as they were not keeping an eye out. They were also too busy with their noses to the ground. I think it was pretty exciting for them to be out of the car.
Dillon Pinnacles Trail
Our next stop was The Dillon Pinnacles Trail. This trail is 4 miles (6.4 km) round trip and provides you nice views of the Blue Mesa Reservoir and the San Juan Mountains. There is a boat launch near the trail head as well if you are traveling with some sort of vessel.
We walked most of the trail, however did not complete all 4 miles due to time restraints. The trail leads out to the Dillon Pinnacles, a collection of pointed rocks, that you can see for most of the trail. The trail is a narrow dirt path leading you through a field of sage brush and juniper trees. It is important to note that the trail is horse friendly so you will want to watch out for horse dung. Especially if you have a dog who dives in and asks questions later.
Jovi may have been the real reason we turned around before the end of the trail. There were all sorts of things she was getting into, including some piece of a dead animal that she chomped her way though why I desperately tried to pull it out of her mouth. I didn’t win that battle. One of the many joys of traveling with animals. All I can say is at least she has an iron gut. Jovi has yet to have any kind of digestive failure due to her trash can ways.
Blue Mesa Lake & Reservoir
Everyone enjoys a teal blue lake, right? And that is just what you will get with Blue Mesa. It was April during our visit so the dogs did not go for a swim, not that Boomer wouldn’t have if I would have let him. Being at 7500 feet (2292 km) in April kind of put a damper on Boomer’s swimming that day. This would be a fantastic lake to let your pup go swimming in during the summer however. Boating and fishing are the main attractions at the lake with Kokanee, Lake Trout, Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout and Perch prevalent throughout this large lake. There are also two full service marinas: Elk Creek and Lake Fork for your boating needs. Camping is located all around the 96 miles of shoreline (154 km) as well as several hiking opportunities.
And while we only sampled a small section of the 43,000+ acre (174.4 km2) national recreation area it was a nice retreat for the day. It gave everyone a much needed break out of the car. Curecanti National Recreation Area is managed by the National Park Service however there is no park entrance fee. As I mentioned before all trails are dog friendly, but your dog must be on a 6 foot leash (1.8 m). The nearest full service towns are Gunnison to the east and Montrose to the west.