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Hotchkiss [14] is a town in the west central part of the Rocky Mountains state of Colorado. It is also a part of the West Elks American Viticultural Area (AVA), part of Colorado's Wine Country and home to the highest wine vineyards in North America. Hotchkiss is one of three towns comprising Western Colorado's North Fork Valley.


The Uncompahgre Valley was the ancestral home of the Ute nation. But in the late 1870s, the lure of the gold and silver deposits in the San Juan Mountains to the south proved too great for the white settler population to resist. Tensions boiled over with the Meeker Massacre in 1879. Pushed to the breaking point by the Federal government's insistence that they give up their nomadic way of life and become farmers, the Utes killed several whites and launched the so-called Ute War. Initially successful, the Utes were forcibly relocated to Utah, and Southwestern Colorado, near Cortez.

Less than a year after the Meeker Massacre, the first prospective settlers ventured into the North Fork area. They were a small group of mineral speculators from the mining town of Lake City. Led by Enos Throop Hotchkiss, who had made his money by discovering the Golden Fleece mine at Lake City, Hotchkiss's party surreptitiously scouted the valley and picked out likely homesteads while the Utes were still in possession.

Hotchkiss died in 1900, just a few months before the town was officially incorporated.

Hotchkiss built its economy on land development, coal, orchards and ranching. The coal is still mined today, a hard anthracite, "clean burning" coal much in demand for power plants around the country.

A sleepy town with a classic "Main Street" row of 19th and early 20th century storefronts, Hotchkiss is a rich agricultural area located in the foothills of the West Elk Mountains. The rich soil is perfect for growing peaches, apples, cherries, as well as grapes.

By the late 20th century, grape growers had discovered the area's potential for raising white wine varietals, and Colorado's wine industry migrated south from Grand Junction and Palisade. The West Elks American Viticultural Area was formed in 2001. Ranging from 5,400 feet (1646 m) to 6,400 feet (1951 m) above sea level, West Elks comprises the highest vineyards in North America.

Hotchkiss is home to the Delta County Fair [15], a rodeo and the Farm to Fiddle Festival held every August.

The town is just 9 mi (14 km) away from the small town of Paonia, which hosts the Cherry Days Festival every July, and 11 miles from Crawford.

Get in[edit]

  • Blake Field [16] 870 1575 Rd, Delta, CO 81416 Phone: 970 874-5181 Full airplane services avaiable, 100ll avgas & jet fuel (self-serve 24/7 ; full-serve during business hours)
  • Montrose Regional Airport [17] (IATA: MTJ), 2100 Airport Road, Phone: +1-970-249-3203, Fax: +1-970-249-2808 Regional service from Denver. Used most heavily during ski season. Cafe, vending, restrooms, car rentals.

There are also airports in Denver and Grand Junction.

  • Denver International Airport [18], (IATA: DEN, ICAO: KDEN). Commonly referred to as DIA. It is located about 20 miles to the east of downtown. Frontier Airlines, United Airlines, and Southwest Airlines all maintain hubs at the airport in Concourses A, B, and C respectively. Most other major domestic carriers also have service here.
  • Grand Junction Regional Airport [19], (IATA: GJT, ICAO: KGJT), otherwise known as Walker Field, is served by six airlines with nonstop service to Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, and Las Vegas. Some service is seasonal.

By car[edit]

From Grand Junction, follow US 50 for 38 mi (61 km) south. Turn left at US 92 and continue for 20 mi (32 km).

From Glenwood Springs, follow US 82 for 11 mi (18 km), then turn right at US 133. Follow for 67 mi (108 km).

From Delta and Montrose, head northeast on US 92 for 20 mi (32 km).

By train[edit]

Amtrak [20] serves nearby Glenwood Springs and Grand Junction with the California Zephyr [21], which runs daily between Emeryville (in the San Francisco Bay Area) and Chicago. For more information, see rail travel in the US.

But once at the rail station, you will still have to rent a car.

  • Advantage Rent-A-Car‎, 2828 Walker Field Dr Grand Junction, +1-970-243-4469, [1].  edit
  • Alamo Rent-A-Car‎, 2828 Walker Field Dr Grand Junction, +1-970-243-3097, [2].  edit
  • Avis Rent-A-Car, 2828 Walker Field Dr Grand Junction, +1-970-244-9170, [3].  edit
  • Enterprise Rent-A-Car, 176 West 6th St Glenwood Springs, +1-970-945-8360, [4].  edit
  • Thrifty Car Rental‎, 175 Storm King Rd Glenwood Springs, +1-970-928-8173, [5].  edit

Get around[edit]

Downtown Hotchkiss is divided into East and West Bridge Street in the middle of town (at 1st Street). Bridge Street is also US 92 running east-west through town. The main drag is easily navigated by foot. But to see the surrounding area, you will need a car or bike.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Creamery Arts Center, 165 Bridge St Hotchkiss, +1-970-872-4848 or +1-866-821-ARTS, [6]. Located in a restored creamery, features work of local artists  edit
  • Hotchkiss Crawford Historical Society and Museum, 350 Elm Ave Hotchkiss, +1-970-872-3780. Features a pioneer saddles, clothes as well as a chuck wagon from the first settlers of the Gunnison River's North Fork Valley.  edit
  • Hotchkiss National Fish Hatchery, 8342 Hatchery Rd Hotchkiss (About 20 mi east of Delta), +1-970-872-3170 (), [7]. Raises the stock fish for the lakes and streams of New Mexico and Colorado. Small visitor center and tank room, residences, 32 outdoor concrete raceways, 24 nursery tanks, and 6 earthen ponds.  edit


  • Delta, Montrose, Paonia & Hotchkiss - Follow US 92 west along the Gunnison River. Turn north on US 65 and stop at the wineries along Surface Creek, on the south slope of Grand Mesa, the largest flattop mountain in the world. Or, travel along the North Fork of the Gunnison River on US 92 east out of Delta and then US 133. This will take you to Hotchkiss and Paonia, where you will find yourself in the West Elks AVA.
  • Grand Mesa National Scenic and Historic Byway- Road traversing the world's largest flattop mountain. Begins at Cedaredge Pioneer Town Museum Welcome Center on US 65 off US 92. The Land O'Lakes Visitor Center, Land's End, and Plateau Valley Area offer fishing, hiking, horseback riding, wildlife viewing, photography and amazing views.

Do[edit][add listing]

Mountain Biking[edit]

  • Sidewinder Trail (""address=""), "+1, [8]. A challenging new single-track trail takes shape in Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area located off of Hwy 92 just East of Delta.  edit
  • Jumbo Mountain Trail System (""address=""), "+1. This trail starts at the east side of Paonia. The trail is mostly singletrack with some doubletrack sections. A variety of experience levels are accommodated with many loop options.  edit


  • Crawford Resevoir, +1-800-678-CAMP (). Created by Crawford Dam which crosses Iron Creek, a tributary of the Smith Fork of the Gunnison River. Fishing, boating, waterskiing, sailboarding, and swimming.  edit
  • Paonia State Park, +1-970-921-5721, [9]. 24 hours. Scenery, water-skiing, wildflowers and camping, all in view of the Ragged Mountains  edit

Winery tours[edit]

The West Elks AVA is home to many fine wineries in Colorado's Wine Country. Spend an afternoon tasting and buying local wines.

Festivals & Events[edit]

  • January - Black-eyed Pea Jubilee at the Blue Sage Center
  • February - Art Gallery Openings & Classical and World Music Concerts in Hotchkiss & Paonia
  • March - Eckert Crane Days
  • April - Paonia Film Festival
  • May - Hotchkiss Annual Sheep Camp Stock Dog Trials, Ela Family Farm Tours, Hotchkiss Lions Club Annual Car Show
  • June - North Fork Uncorked Wine Tasting, Crawford Pioneer Days, Gears & Beers
  • July - Paonia Cherry Days, Rock The Canyon Rally
  • August - Pickin' In The Park, West Elks Wine Trail, Delta County Fair, Celebrate the Fork, Farm to Fiddle Festival
  • September - Mountain Harvest Festival, Molen Regatta at Azura Cellars
  • October - Paonia Oktoberfest, Wine Tours at local wineries
  • November - Celebrate with Garvin Mesa Wineries, Crawford Craft Fair, Parade of Lights & Festival of Trees, Delicious Orchard's Hard Cider Festival
  • December - Blue Sage Holiday Art Fair, Gingerbread Festival in Paonia

Buy[edit][add listing]

Hotchkiss is Happening and provides unique shopping opportunities.

  • Will's Gallery & Used Books‎, 229 W Bridge St Hotchkiss, +1-970-872-2664.  edit A fun, messy, packed to the rafters used bookstore that features local art.
  • The Rose‎, 130 W Bridge Hotchkiss, +1-970-872-1144.  edit The Rose offers upscale resale clothes, accessories and housewares for women men and children. Designer names at gentle worn prices.
  • Backcountry Goods‎, 158 E. Main St. Hotchkiss, +1-970-872-3045.  edit Retail. Sporting Goods. And Collectibles. We buy, sell, and trade almost anything.
  • The Pack Shack‎, 180 W. Main St. Hotchkiss, +1-970-872-5555.  edit Ladies fashion handbags, jewelry, greeting cards & more.
  • Rogers Mesa Store‎, 32345 Hwy 92 Hotchkiss, +1-970-872-4816.  edit Convenience store, deli, gas, diesel, propane, gift shop and paint your own ceramic studio.

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Pat's Bar & Grill, 140 W. Bridge St. Hotchkiss, +1-970- 872-4215.  edit Family restaurant with a full service bar.
  • Coal Train Coffee House, 330 W. Bridge St #101 Hotchkiss, CO 81419, +1- 970-872-5282, [10]. Organic and fair trade coffees, fresh roasted. Pleasant atmosphere -- red French doors wine-barrel flower pots and outdoor cafe tables.  edit
  • PJ's Neighborhood Pub, 107 West Bridge St, +1-970-872-4582. 11AM - 9PM Mon-Sat. This is your classic Neighborhood Pub! Enjoy good food and drink where the locals hang out. * <eat name="Taco Hut" alt="" address="301 E Bridge St Hotchkiss" directions="" phone="+1-970- 872-2100" email="" fax="" url="" hours="5AM-10:30PM Sun-Th" price="">  edit Fast Fresh Affordable Mexican Food. Dine In or Drive Thru.
  • Zack's Bar-B-Q, 721 East Bridge Street Hotchkiss, +1-970-872-3199. Family barbecue joint  edit
  • Tucker's Pizza, Pub & Arcade, 221 East Bridge Street Hotchkiss, +1-970-872-4039. Burgers, sandwiches, pizza and calzones with a full service bar and arcade games for the kids.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • Tucker's, 221 E Bridge St Hotchkiss, +1-970-872-4039.  edit
  • PJ's Pub, 107 W Bridge St Hotchkiss, +1-970-872-4582.  edit
  • Pat's Bar & Grill, 140 W Bridge St Hotchkiss, +1-970-872-4215.  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]


  • North Fork Motel, 92 Hwy 133 Hotchkiss, +1-970-872-2137 or +1-866-829-8889. Newly remodeled rooms.  edit
  • Hotchkiss Inn, 406 Highway 133 Hotchkiss, +1-970- 872-2200 or +1-800-817-1418. Some Pet rooms for a $10 fee, cable TV, central location  edit


  • Hotchkiss Inn Motel, +1-970-872-2200 or +1-800-817-1418.  edit
  • Gunnison River Farms, +1-970-835-3962 (), [11]. Rustic cabins and fisherman's retreat that border 5 miles of the Gunnison River and towering cliffs. 7 acres of trout ponds, 8 acres of bass ponds, a sporting clay course, and 1,000 acres for wing shooting  edit


  • Leroux Creek Inn & Vineyards, 12388 3100 Rd ~ Hotchkiss, +1-970-872-4746, [12]. Adobe-style inn offers peace and seclusion in the middle of 47 acres of private land. Views of the surrounding vineyard, West Elk mountains, canyons and mesas. Continental breakfast prepared with fresh fruit from the organic farms of Delta County. Restaurant serves classic French cuisine made with local ingredients. Southwestern-style rooms.  edit


  • Delta County Fairgrounds, Downtown Hotchkiss, +1-970-234-3971. Electrical and water hookups at 7 sites for RV campers. No dumping. Showers Apr. - mid- November. 7 day maximum stay.  edit
  • Gunnison River Pleasure Park, 8949 Pleasure Park Road Hotchkiss, +1-872-2525 or +1-888-782-75424 (), [13]. 200 sites. No RV hook ups, jet boat trips, guided fishing trips, rafting  edit
  • Mountain Valley Meadows RV Park, 35145 Hwy 133 Hotchkiss (Just off US 133), +1-970-872-2351 or +1-800-782-4037 (). Electric hook ups for RVs  edit
  • Rogers Mesa Food Store/RV Park, 32345 Highway 92 Hotchkiss (On Rogers Mesa west of Hotchkiss), +1-970-872-4816. 10-unit RV park, electrical hookups, propane.  edit


Internet Access[edit]

Most hotels and coffee shops throughout the region offer wireless Wi-Fi access. But if you don't have a computer, try the public libraries.

  • Hotchkiss Public Library, 1st and Main St Hotchkiss, +1-970-872-4153.  edit

Get out[edit]

  • Uncompahgre National Forest [25] - Over a million acres comprise some of the most spectacular views in the Rockies.

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