Blue Mesa, Morrow Point, Crystal Reservoirs : LUSENET : Northern Colorado paddling : One Thread

I visited these reservoirs on 09/15/2002 to check paddling conditions.

Crystal Lake. Elevation: 6748 feet. Surprize! It looked navigable starting at the Morrow Point dam, i.e., from the trail. No release from the dam, just Cimarron River flowing in.

Morrow Point Reservoir. Elevation: 7128 feet. The lake with standing water starts about 2 miles below the stairs as described by Jerry Nolan. At the time of my visit there was no release from the Blue Mesa Dam. Water level was very low with very little current. The first mile, i.e., from the bottom of the stairs to the touring boat dock could be paddled with one dragging of the boat over rocks (perhaps that class 3 drop when water is flowing). There was 1/4 mile standing water pool above the dock. Below the dock things were getting worse: several wide and shallow places, then a series of pools connected by a stream flowing trough some rocks. Probably, it would be easier to portage this part along the trail than trying to go over these rocks.

Blue Mesa Reservoir. Low water. Elevation: 7447 feet

I will try to post more pictures on my website.

-- Marek Uliasz (, September 17, 2002


I was hiking along the Morrow Point Reservoir between 10am and 1 pm on 9/15/02. I think that one need to be prepared to portage these two miles in both directions. It could be a disaster to be surprized by the high water front from a sudden release when dragging the boat through that shallow water or dry rapids.

Have you had chance to look at Crystal Reservoir? I was there earlier in the morning. From the last data record it seems to be pretty stable.

-- Marek Uliasz (, September 17, 2002.

Marek, You need to keep in mind that although the dams were not releasing water while you were there, most of the time they are releasing water. At these water levels you need to be prepared for running the rapids and portaging two miles back up. Marci and I were also at Morrow-Point late on 9-15-02, the same day you were, and the dam was releasing plenty of water. The last rapid before the lake looked like a solid Class III. The new large signs warning about sudden releases from the dam should be taken seriously. Maybe they put up those new signs because some folks got into trouble. Jerry

-- Jerry Nolan (, September 17, 2002.

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