With a population of over 19,000 at last count, Montrose is one of the most populated cities in Western Colorado. This is largely due to the city's position in the upper Uncompahgre Valley on the Uncompahgre River. To the north lies Grand Mesa; to the east, the Black Canyon, and to the south, the San Juan mountains. This central positioning makes Montrose a popular hub for the surrounding recreation industry. Before Montrose was incorporated in 1882, the area was inhabited by prehistoric people who used rock-art panels to record cultural events. These can still be seen at the Shavano Valley Rock Art Site, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Long after these indigenous communities came the railroad in the late 19th century, which led to the incorporation of the town as an important regional shipping center. It was named Montrose after Sir Walter Scott's novel A Legend of Montrose. In 1909, the US government completed construction of the Gunnison Tunnel, which provided irrigation water from the Gunnison River to the Uncompahgre Valley. This helped turn Montrose into an agricultural hub, as the arid climate made the land previously untenable. Today, irrigation flows created by the canal make Montrose a popular spot for water sports recreation. In colder weather, the city is a central spot for skiers on route to the San Juan mountains.
Also called the WSP, the Montrose Water Sports Park is one of the largest in Colorado, consisting of over 1,000 feet of river. In addition to concrete riverside trails, the park features terraced spectator areas that allow those who prefer to stay on-land to safely observe the multitude of kayakers, paddle-boarders and river surfers. Rent a paddle board or kayak yourself, or go for a relaxing stroll on one of the park's paved or unpaved trails. The area surrounding WSP also offers picnic areas, playgrounds, ball fields, skateboard ramps, and even a disc-golf course. The entire park is also ADA accessible!
This is no ordinary museum: at the Museum of the West in Montrose, you'll step into a reconstructed old western town; complete with a post office, church, carriage house, doctor's office, drug store, saloon and more. In fact, this 10,000 square foot property houses 25 historical buildings that feature more than 500,000 artifacts in authentic settings. On your guided tour, you'll hear fascinating stories and see amazing pieces of history while feeling as though you've been transported back in time to the Wild West. This is one museum visit that won't leave you bored!
This newer annual event is held in early August in the Montrose Water Sports Park. FUNC Fest, which stands for Fun on the Uncompahgre, features live music, water sports, food trucks, craft beer, giveaways, vendors, races and even camping! This is the festival's 5th year, and another day was added this time around in order to fit in all the fun FUNC activities! Friday night attendees can enjoy an evening of live music, food and drink: you can even camp out overnight in the park! On Saturday, water competitions in freestyle kayaking, surfing, paddle boarding and boating fill the day. Those who prefer to stay dry can cheer on competitors and enjoy the plethora of food, drink, music and activities available.
This German-inspired event brings the best beers of the Western Slope and beyond to downtown Montrose! The one-day festival takes place in late September and features tasting from over 20 breweries; as well as live music, festive food, exciting activities and local vendors. Funds raised from the event benefit All Points Transit, a non-profit public transit service for seniors, people with disabilities and the general public in Montrose and the surrounding area. What a great way to raise money for the community!
This top-rated restaurant brings a wide-variety of Japanese cuisine to Montrose. Here you can enjoy an extensive selection of sushi and sashimi, hibachi, tempura, teriyaki, noodle soups, and creative appetizers. Sip some sake along with your meal, and try not to be tempted by dessert items like tempura cheesecake.
This charming pub and pizzeria offers brick-oven pies and fresh salads alongside a choice selection of house micro-brews. Folks flock to Colorado Boy for their delicious food, inviting ambiance and famously friendly service. If you're craving pizza and a cold one after a long day of exploring Montrose, this is the place to go!