A group of visitors set up on a sandy beach near water
Old Highway 50 Beach

NPS/Matt Johnson

A dip in Blue Mesa can be refreshing, but the water remains cold even in the summer. The shoreline of the reservoir is mostly steep and rocky, but there are few places particularly good for swimming.

Where to Swim

Areas with designated "no-wake" zones for motorized watercraft tend to be better for swimming.

  • Bay of Chickens (windsurfing beach, 1.2 miles west of Elk Creek)
  • Dry Creek (1 mile east of Elk Creek)
  • Old Highway 50 beach (100 yards west of Elk Creek)

Swim Safety

  • Be aware of motorized watercraft around you. Do not assume they see you.
  • The water is cold. Surface temperatures average about 65 degrees even in the summer.
  • Be aware of the symptoms of hypothermia, which can be brought on by exposure to cold water.
  • It is illegal to jump off rock cliffs, ledges, bridges, or structures on Blue Mesa (15 feet or higher).
  • Harmful algae, also known as blue-green algae, is common and natural to our waters and found throughout Colorado. The algae can multiply rapidly to form blooms and scums, particularly in areas of shallow, warm water and in the late summer.

Last updated: May 20, 2024

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102 Elk Creek
Gunnison, CO 81230


970 641-2337 x205

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