| 2,359 m|| 213 m|
| Morrow Point Reservoir, Gunnison River,
Gunnison County, Colorado,
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Teakettle Mountain, Jagged Mountain, Dallas Peak, Petit Grepon, Needle Rock Natural A
The Curecanti Needle is a 700-ft granite spire located on the Gunnison River in western Colorado. A notable landmark to generations of natives and pioneers, the Needle is located on the southern bank of Morrow Point Reservoir, an impoundment of the Gunnison river between Gunnison and Montrose, Colorado. Used for many years as a advertising symbol for the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad, whose narrow-gauge railway famously ran along the northern bank of the river and passed near the Needle, the spire is today part of the Curecanti National Recreation Area, a National Park Service facility that encompasses three impoundments of the Gunnison river, including Morrow Point Reservoir.
Curecanti Needle Wikipedia
The Needle is located in the upper reaches of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, along a portion of the Gunnison river impounded in 1965. On the south bank of the reservoir, the spire is directly west of the mouth of Blue Creek and directly across the river from the mouth of Curecanti Creek, approximately 3.4 miles west of Blue Mesa Dam. The area south of the Needle is traversed by the section of U.S. Highway 50 between Gunnison and Montrose.
Though U.S. 50 runs close by south of the Needle there is no direct road access. There is also no direct trail access. The closest developed trail is the Curecanti Creek Trail, which follows the moderately steep descent of Curecanti creek south to its entry into Morrow Point Reservoir. Though it is on the opposite (North) side of the river, the trail, and its attendant river-side campsite, are directly across the river from the Needle, offering excellent views to experienced hikers.
Curecanti Creek Trail (4 miles round-trip) 900 ft. elevation change. Access by trail-head located at the Pioneer Point overlook on Colorado Highway 92, 5.7 miles from the junction with U.S. Hwy 50.
There is direct access to the Needle by boat, but these must be hand carried down the 232-steps of the Pine Creek Trail, accessible from U.S. Hwy 50, west of Blue Mesa Dam. Boaters on Morrow Point Reservoir are required to obtain a free back-country use permit, available at the Pine Creek Trail-head. Once on the water, boaters can directly access the base of the Needle along Blue Creek. An undeveloped boat-in campsite is available for boaters at Blue Creek, as well as a developed camp-site, with a picnic table, grill and toilet, opposite the Needle at the end of the Curecanti Creek trail.
Pine Creek Trail (2 miles round-trip) 180 ft. elevation change. Access by trail-head on U.S. Hwy 50, 1 mile west of junction with Co. Hwy 92. Boat launch is at the end of the trail.