View prehistoric rock art, drive along scenic mountain-hemmed byways and take part in thrilling outdoor activities in and around this small city in Western Colorado.
The city of Montrose serves as a hub for Western Colorado, being close to several of the region’s major attractions including national parks and cultural sites. Browse museum exhibits in town before venturing into the wilds where outdoor adventure awaits.
Find the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park just east of Montrose. The narrow and plunging canyon, through which the Garrison River flows, reaches depths of 2,700 feet (820 meters). Discover prime vantage spots at the granite rim and peer down into the canyon’s depths. During summer, the park attracts whitewater rafters, kayakers and rock climbers, while cross-country skiers and snowshoers come in winter to experience the quiet splendor of the snow-covered landscapes.
North of Montrose is the Grand Mesa, a lush and vast flat-topped mountain crisscrossed by hiking trails. Go horseback riding along the trails and, during winter, cross-country ski.
With so much nature beckoning you outside the city limits, it can be easy to overlook Montrose’s own delights. Stroll around Historic Downtown Montrose to discover independent shops, restaurants, galleries and brew pubs located within Victorian-era buildings. Look for public artworks on display as part of the Public Art Experience. Learn about local history at the Museum of the Mountain West, which displays artifacts including maps, clothing and furniture, and at the Montrose County Historical Museum, which is situated in the town’s old railway depot. The Ute Indian Museum offers insight into the culture and history of Colorado's longest continuous residents.
For more high-octane adventure in town, head for the Montrose Water Sports Park. Kayak, fly fish, paddleboard or go tubing on the Uncompahgre River.
For travelers who are less keen on outdoor adventure but still want to soak up the surrounding scenery, try scenic drives instead. Cruise along the San Juan Skyway, known as the “road to the sky,” to view 14,000-foot (4,000-meter) peaks and ancient Pueblo remains, or the Alpine Loop Back Country Byway for even more epic mountain scenery.
Montrose is a 70-minute drive southeast from Grand Junction. Renting a car is recommended as public transportation is minimal.