Curecanti National Recreation Area

Winter Sports

Winter finds elk, bighorn sheep, and deer descending from the mountains to feed and to avoid the harsher conditions found at higher elevations. Despite the beautiful snowcapped mesas, clear blue skies, and abundant wildlife, winter is harsh here. Temperatures dip as low as -40 degrees Farenheit, and are made even more dangerous by the strong winds. Adequate preparation for winter activities is a must here.

Anglers persist in winter, bearing augers for ice fishing. Four inches of hard, clear ice are needed to support one adult afoot. The specific rules that pertain to ice fishing should be obtained from the visitor center or from park rangers before you venture onto the ice.

Other winter sports enthusiasts enjoy snowmobiling and cross-country skiing. Snowmobiling is permitted on the frozen surface of Blue Mesa Lake and on fishing access roads as designated. Seven inches of hard, clear ice are needed to support snowmobiles. Check on ice thickness. State regulations on snowmobile use apply.

Cross-country skiing is a good way to see wildlife wintering near Blue Mesa, or try the beginning ski trail near the Elk Creek Visitor Center, conditions permitting. Advanced ski routes follow U.S. Forest Service access roads leading from the park.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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