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Montrose (Colorado)

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Montrose (Colorado)

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Montrose [23] is a town in the Uncompahgre Valley in Southwestern Colorado. It is a gateway to both Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park to its east and Telluride and other ski areas in the San Juan Mountains to the south. It is also home to the West Elks American Viticultural Area (AVA), part of Colorado's Wine Country and the highest wine vineyards in North America.


Montrose is the second-largest town in western Colorado. Located on the valley floor, Montrose is surrounded by the photogenic mountain ranges of the Uncompahgre Plateau to the west and snow-capped San Juan mountains to the south.

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 area 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 attempts to disband their nomadic way of life, the Utes killed several whites and launched the so-called Ute War. Initially successful, the Utes were forcibly relocated to Utah, and the southwest corner of Colorado, near Cortez.

Two months after the Utes were evicted, in December 1881, the town was founded. In the early days, Montrose was known variously as Pomona, Dad’s Town, and Uncompahgre Town.

Eventually, the town was named after Sir Walter Scott's historic novel, "A Legend of Montrose" because the area reminded Joseph Selig, the town founder, of Scotland's lake country.

Montrose served as a supply depot to service mining towns like Ouray, Silverton, Telluride and Durango in the San Juans, raising cattle and sheep to feed the miners. By 1882, the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad Co built a narrow gauge railroad from Montrose to Silverton.

Besides mining and ranching, orchards were a part of the area's agricultural history. The mines went into decline, and agriculture became the center of Montrose's economy. Settlers worked the fertile valley soil producing fruits, grains and vegetables. 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.

Montrose now serves as a recreational hub for tourists and outdoor enthusiasts. Leisure travelers can hike, camp or enjoy boating and fishing in the surrounding national parks, forests and recreation areas. The town is a laid back mix of ranchers, farmers, ski bums, aging hippies and jocks.

The busy tourist months are in the summer, with most travelers just passing through in the winter on their way to Crested Butte and Telluride.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Montrose Regional Airport [24] (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 [25], (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 [26], (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]

  • US 50 runs east-west through town, from Grand Junction to the west and east to Gunnison and Pueblo.
  • US 550 comes in from Albuquerque ending at the corner of Townsend Avenue and Main Street, in Montrose.

By bus[edit]

  • Greyhound Bus Lines, 1360 North Townsend, Montrose, +1-970-249-6673, [1].  edit

Get around[edit]

If you want to travel around town, then you will need to rent a vehicle. Prices are the same as across the United States. Downtown Montrose is easily navigated by foot.

  • Budget Rent A Car, +1-970- 249-6083, [2].  edit
  • Dollar Rent A Car, +1-970-249-3770, [3].  edit
  • Enterprise Rent A Car, +1-970- 240-3835, [4].  edit
  • National Car Rental, +1-970-252-8898, [5].  edit
  • Thrifty Car Rental, +1-970-249-8741, [6].  edit

See[edit][add listing]

  • Cimarron Railroad Exhibits, (Located within Curecanti National Recreation Area, 20 mi east of Montrose, just off US 50), +1-970-249-4074. See authentic restored 1880s locomotives and trestles from the Denver & Rio Grande Narrow Gauge Railroad  edit
  • The Climbing Tree Children's Museum, 400 N. Townsend Ave Montrose, +1-970-240-8733, [7]. Construction zone, kid's kitchen, toddler tumbling mat, infant stimulation and parent resource library, booknook tree house, arts and crafts room, chalk and magnet walls, live small animals, puppet theaters, dress up and performance stage.  edit
  • Montrose Botanic Gardens, 1800 Pavilion Drive Montrose (Located just south of the Montrose Pavilion), +1-970-249-0742 (), [8]. Flowers, rock gardens and ornamental fruit trees, with the West Elks Mountains as a backdrop.  edit
  • Montrose County Historical Museum, (In the former Denver & Rio Grande Train Depot at the corner of Main and Rio Grande), +1-970-249-2085. Focuses on early day pioneer life: buggies, wagons, farm implements and a completely furnished homesteader's cabin. The inside houses a country store, railroad memorabilia, a children's corner, Indian artifacts, and musical instruments,  edit
  • Museum of the Mountain West, 68169 E. Miami Rd Montrose (Located at the corner of E. Miami Rd and US 50, 2.5 miles east from the last light in Montrose heading towards Gunnison), +1-970-249-4162 (), [9]. History of the region from 1840 to 1940. Open air museum with a series of Wild West buildings arranged like a town.  edit
  • Ute Indian Museum & Ouray Memorial Park, (Two miles south of Montrose on Hwy. 550 and Chipeta Drive - now also home to the Visitor's Welcome Center.), +1-970-249-3098. Commemorates the life and culture of the Ute nation. Located on the farm once belonging to the famous Ute leader, Ouray, and his wife, Chipeta. The grounds include the Ouray Memorial and the grave of Chipeta.  edit

Do[edit][add listing]


  • Crested Butte
  • Telluride
  • Powderhorn Ski Resort, 48338 Powderhorn Rd Mesa Co 81643, +1-970-268-5700, [10].  edit
  • Cerro Summit Recreation Area, 433 S. 1st Street Montrose, +1-970-240-1411. Maintained by the City of Montrose for sledding, ice skating and cross country skiing.  edit


  • Black Canyon Golf Course, 1350 Birch Montrose, +1-970-249-4653. 18 holes, open to the public.  edit
  • The Links at Cobble Creek, 699 Cobble Dr Montrose, +1-970-240-9542. 18 holes, a driving range and restaurant.  edit

Wine Tasting[edit]

  • Visit Colorado's Wine Country. Colorado is home to over 70 wineries and its own indigenous vineyards, the highest in North America. Wine lovers can enjoy many vineyards around Montrose, as well as several scenic day trips to many of the small towns that grow their own grapes. These lovely little communities include Palisade, Paonia, Grand Junction and Hotchkiss.

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Around the Corner Art Gallery, 447 E. Main St Montrose, +1-970-249-4243, [11]. 10:30-5:30 M-Sa. Montrose's top fine art gallery. 20 Colorado Western Slope artists, exhibiting original paintings, sculpture, pottery, metalwork, crafts.  edit
  • Asian Antiques & Designs, 219 Main St Montrose, +1-970-249-7047, [12]. 10 am - 6 pm M-F, 10 am - 5 pm Sat..  edit
  • Rockrose Art Gallery, 701 E. Main St. #D Montrose, +1-970-240-9375, [13].  edit
  • SheShe Boutique & Gallery, 340 East Main St Montrose, +1-970-249.4944, [14].  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Remington's at the Bridges, 2500 Bridges Dr. Montrose, +1-970-252-1010. Casual elegance with five-star service and local organic produce. Dine inside or out, with beautiful mountain views  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • Smuggler's Brew Pub & Grill, 1571 Ogden Rd Montrose, +1-970-249-0919, [15]. Gyros, Philly Cheese steaks, grilled burgers, burritos, pasta and baby back ribs. Pale Ale, Wheat, Stout and Porter, as well as Martinis and Cosmopolitans.  edit
  • Colorado Boy, 320 E MAIN ST, [16]. Amazing Brewery with outstanding pizzas and salads. YUM $.  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Best Western Red Arrow, 1702 E Main Street, +1 970 249-9641, Toll-free: +1 800 468-9323, Fax: +1 970 249-8380, [27].
  • Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, 1391 S Townsend Ave, +1 970 240-1800, [28].
  • Canyon Creek Bed & Breakfast, 820 Main St, Montrose, +1-970-249-2886, [17]. Convenient Main Street location in an old farmhouse. Social setting since this bed and breakfast also has a cocktail lounge. Massages available with reservations. Sunny, coffee-colored rooms with ensuite bathrooms and flat panel TVs.  edit
  • Country Lodge, 1624 E. Main St. Montrose, Colorado 81401-3809, 970-249-4567, [18]. The Country Lodge has a rustic charm unlike any other motel in Montrose. There are 22 rooms, some have kitchens, some have themes, and most have patio access to the beautiful garden and pool courtyard. The heated pool is seasonal, but the hot tub is open year round. All rooms are ground level and have parking in front of them. There is also parking for large vehicles on the property. Also features a 1200 sq ft cabin that is ideal for families or extended stays.  edit


  • Pleasant Valley, 84100 E US Hwy 50, Cimarron, CO (23 miles east of Montrose), +1-970-249-8330, [19]. RV sites, tent sites, and cabins available for rent along the river. Convenience store and cafe. Laundry facilities, shower, and restrooms. Limited free wifi. The area's best fresh baked pies.  edit
  • Cedar Creek RV Park, 126 Rose Lane Montrose, +1-1-970-249-3884, [20].  edit
  • Centennial RV Park, 23449 US 550 Montrose, +1-970-240-3832. Full hookups, tent sites, hot showers, laundry, convenience store, play area, heated pool. Open May 1 - Nov. 1.  edit
  • Hangin' Tree RV Park, 17250 US 550 Montrose, +1-970-249-9966. Full hookups, pull-throughs, showers, laundry, convenience store, gas, liquor store, propane. Year round.  edit
  • Kings Riverbend, 65120 Old Chipeta Tr Montrose, +1-970-249-8235. Shady, large big-rig sites on the river, 50 amp service. Fisherman's choice.  edit
  • Montrose RV Resort, +1-970-249-9177 or +1-888-249-9554, [21]. 30 and 50 amp hook-ups plus free cable and free wireless internet. Heated pool open seasonally. Laundry facilities and restrooms.  edit


Internet Access[edit]

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

  • Montrose Public Library, 320 South 2nd St Montrose, +1-970-249-9656.  edit


  • Main Street Essentials Day Spa, 204 South Uncompahgre, Montrose, +1-970-252-0381, [22].  edit

Get out[edit]

  • Grand Mesa National Forest [31] - Grand Mesa, the world's largest flat top mountain. Located 45 miles north of Montrose.
  • Ouray [32] This National Historic District and lovely town has natural hot springs, fine shopping and restaurants. It is only a 45 minute drive south to the grand San Juan Mountains.
  • Uncompahgre National Forest - Over a million acres comprise some of the most spectacular views. Located south of Montrose.

Routes through Montrose
Grand JunctionOlathe  W noframe E  Curecanti N.R.A.Pueblo
END  N noframe S  OurayDurango

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