Colorado is a landlocked state, but plenty of Rocky Mountain lakes and reservoirs offer miles of shoreline to swim in. Blue Mesa Reservior- part of Curecanti National Recreation Area is the largest body of water, which means abundant recreation and lounge worthy beach. As U.S. 50 winds through the high-mountain desert between Montrose and the mountain college town of Gunnison- make time for the construction mess.

Here is the Blue Mesa Reservior, where the waters of the Gunnison River gather before carving through the steep walls of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Boaters love the 29 mile long reservior, which has several arms that lead into secluled canyons. The fishing is legendary, as it's stocked with millions of fish every year. It's home to the largest kokanee salmon fishery in the U.S.

And with the camping, windsurfing, waterskiing, hiking, horseback riding and boats tours also vying for attention, it may take a few days to experience it all.

While much of the shoreline is rocky, you'll find good swimming areas at the Bay of Chickens, Dry Creek, and Old Highway 50 beach. The water is always cool, and there''s nothing more refreshing on a hot summer day.One problem is there is less and less water. We all know about the drought that western Colorado's been in for years. It's not just statistics, it's real and in pictures I've taken myself of Blue Mesa. Back in 2018 when I got here, until yesterday while visiting the area again.

Western Colorado Drought

Blue Mesa Reservior

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