The Morrow Point Boat Tour is a 90 minute boat ride through the upper Black Canyon. It will take you past a tall waterfall, and many other goodies.
The name of the waterfall is Chipeta Falls, and it drops about 150-160 feet off of the canyon wall.
It's impressive and it was the main reason I wanted to do the boat tour. But when the boat tour ended, I thought the tour was great for other reasons too.
Anyway, if that sounds interesting, here are the directions to the Morrow Point Boat Tour:
Anyway, to do the Morrow Point Boat Tour, the first thing you have to do is walk along the Pine Creek Trail to the boat dock.
That includes going down 232 steps which take you to the water level. From that point, you're walking along a mostly flat path, (it's the old railroad grade), to the boat dock and the distance is a little over a half mile one-way.
I think it took us around a half hour to reach the boat dock, but I was taking lots of pictures.
There is a restroom at the boat dock, (as well as the trailhead), and the Park Service strongly recommends that you use them before taking the boat tour since there is no restroom on the boat.
Before you get on the boat, the Park Service gives a safety talk, and after that, everyone is invited to go pick out a life jacket. Luckily, adults don't have to wear them for the entire tour, although you do have to wear them at certain times.
Once everyone is settled on the boat, the Morrow Point Boat Tour takes off slowly through the spectacular canyon.
The National Park Ranger, or a volunteer, will start talking about what you're seeing.
Make sure you bring a camera! The first thing you'll see that you'll probably want to photograph, (other than the canyon), is Chipeta Falls.
Chipeta Falls will show up on the right side of the boat, (when you start the tour), so sit on that side if you want to photograph the waterfall at the beginning of the trip.
Also, the boat stops there briefly so everyone who wants to, can take pictures of it. I was one of those! And if you want to see the falls when there's more water in it, do the tour early in the season.
The next thing you'll see along the Morrow Point Boat Tour is the Curecanti Needle. It's a big, (700 hundred feet), A-shaped rock formation that has trees and shrubbery growing on it. Although the best view of it is from the boat, you can also hike the Curecanti Creek trail to see it. That will take you along Curecanti Creek and down to the Morrow Point Reservoir. From there, you'll be able to see the Curecanti Needle.
As you continue your ride along the Morrow Point Reservoir, you should keep an eye out for various types of birds. And if you have binoculars, that's even better. We saw two golden eagles, several turkey vultures, and common mergansers, among other birds.
Before you know it, you'll reach the green, lush hillsides of Kokanee Bay. This is the turn-around point for the Morrow Point Boat Tour. But the boat does spend a little time there so you can take in the scenery, and take plenty of pictures.
If you'd like to take this boat tour, you need to make reservations, which are required. To do that, you can call (970) 641-2337, ext. 205. Or, you can also stop by the Elk Creek Visitor Center, which is 15 miles west of Gunnison off of Highway 50, at mile marker 142. They start taking reservations for the season on May 1.
Tour times for the boat tour go like this: they run twice each day at 10:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. every day except Tuesday. And they run from around the beginning of June through Labor Day weekend.
So, last but not least, here are the fees, (in 2013), for the Morrow Point Boat Tour:
All children 12 and under-$8.00
Adults with Interagency Senior/Access Pass-$8.00
Please note: boat tour fees are non-refundable.
More Pictures From the Morrow Point Boat Tour
Here's a picture of Curecanti Creek-you'll see it along the boat tour and it's hard to imagine that a trail follows this creek; but apparently it does. We plan on probably hiking this trail next summer, (2013), so if we do, I'll tell you more about it at that time.
This picture is of the boat we rode, along with the ramp leading down to it. In case you were wondering, the boat ride itself is pretty smooth; I never felt "seasick" at all, and I have a tendency in that direction.
Also, when the boat stops at Chipeta Falls, (and a few other places), they let you get up from your seat to get a better vantage point for pictures if you want to. I thought it was nice of them to do that. :-)
This picture is some of the scenery that we saw along the Morrow Point Boat Tour. As you can see, it was a pretty long ways up to those trees on top of the canyon. It's hard to imagine that they can even grow there, where there isn't much dirt, but they can.
Here's another picture of the Curecanti Needle as we were approaching it from the boat. Next summer, (2013), we plan on probably hiking the Curecanti Creek trail, which brings you down to where you have a view of the Curecanti Needle. I'm curious to see what the view will be like from there!
This is the spot where the boat turns around on the Morrow Point Reservoir. It's close to where you'll see the lush, green hillsides of Kokanee Bay.
If you're there early in the season (like we were), they really are very green, as if you were in Ireland, or someplace else where it rains a lot. It reminded me of Maui too, except I don't remember seeing any pine trees there. :-)