Located in the Western Slopes region (West of the Rockies) of Colorado, Montrose sits 5,806 feet above sea level. Montrose is surrounded by canyons, mountains, and desert which offers a vast array of scenic views. With all the different scenery, there’s a variety of ways to enjoy this beautiful part of Colorado. Jeep tours, rafting tours, fishing excursions, horseback riding, and hiking await all who want an outdoor adventure. Montrose is home to the Black Canyon National Park, one of the newest additions to the National Park Service.
The semi-arid climate of Montrose allows for many different outdoor activities for all ages. Montrose has close to 300 days of sunshine a year with summer temperatures usually in the high 80’s and the evenings are cool in the high 40’s and low 50’s.
Montrose, Colorado sits at 5,806 feet above sea level, so acclimation to the high altitude is recommended. Taking a day or two to enjoy one of the area’s parks or to hike an easy trail is recommended before attempting the more rigorous outdoor activities.
Hiking is a major outdoor activity in Montrose with literally hundreds of hiking trails. The major attraction for hiking is Black Canyon National Park which is located on Highway 50 in the outskirts of Montrose. This park has many scenic trails for all levels of hiking capabilities. For the more avid and adventurous hiker, the Gunnison Trail is the trail of choice. This trail descends down into the canyon almost 2,000 feet to the Gunnison River below where fishing, camping, and memorable sights will await you.
Another popular trail is the Uncompahgre River Trail which is mostly paved and great for a family hike or to acclimate to the high altitude. This trail runs through Montrose along the Uncompahgre River.
Montrose is home to the Uncompahgre Plateau which has an abundance of hiking trails. Wildlife abounds on the Plateau and you’re liable to spot a bobcat, mountain lion, black bear, coyote, fox, grouse, or some other critter living on the Plateau.
For more info on hiking, you can obtain detailed maps at the BLM/Forest Service at 970 240-5300.
The Western Slope offers many opportunities for fishing. There are several gold medal and wild trout water areas located near Montrose. Most of these are in the Black Canyon. The previously mentioned Gunnison Trail in the Black Canyon National Park is the most popular gold medal fishing area. There is also the Gunnison Gorge National Recreation Area which hosts hikers, boaters, horeseback riders and fisherman.
Montrose is located about 30 miles from two alpine mountain ranges, the San Juan Mountains and the Mt. Sneffels Range, where from June through mid-September, fishing can be enjoyed in many of the alpine lakes. The most popular alpine fishing is found in the beautiful area of the Blue Lakes.
For more info on fishing, call the Division of Wildlife at 970 252-6000 or Cimarron Creek at 970 249-0408.
Horseback riding is a fun and popular activity for all ages in Montrose. There are many trails to ride and many places to rent a horse in Montrose. Horseback riding can be anywhere from a half-day excursion to a multiple-day excursion.
The Gunnison Gorge National Recreation Area has a very scenic trail called the Ute Trail, which runs along the Gunnison River. This trail is almost 5 miles long and offers many scenic views as well as wildlife opportunities.
If you’re looking for a longer ride, the Tabegauche Trail is almost 150 miles long with extended overnight stays. Wildlife opportunities abound on this trail also. You can also do a day trip along this trail instead of the longer excursion.
For more information on horseback riding in Montrose, you can call one of several stables: Elk Ridge Trail Rides at 970 240-6007, Deb’s Livery at 970 626-5587, or Action Adventure Guide Outfitters at 970 249-1832.
The Gunnison River descends into Montrose through the Black Canyon National Park and river rafting is very popular especially in the late Spring early Summer months. This outdoor adventure has both white water excursions and the more placid rafting trips for the not-so-adventurous. Rafting the Gunnison River through the Black Canyon will leave you with many unforgettable sights. You’ll see rock climbers descending the 2,000 foot walls of the Black Canyon and you may catch a glimpse of a golden eagle soaring by.
A rafting trip on the Uncompahgre River is not as adventurous but is also very scenic and offers wildlife opportunities.
For more information on rafting trips you can call the Scenic River Tours at 970 641-3131 or RIGs’S Fly Shop & Guide Service at 970 626-4460. RIG’s website is www.fishrigs.com.
Near Montrose is the San Juan Mountain Range and the Mt. Sneffels Mountain Range which offers some of the most scenic views in Colorado. The San Juan Peaks has six mountains over 14,000 feet, and Mt. Sneffels is 14, 150 feet. Both these mountain ranges offer photographic opportunities, jeep tours, and hiking trails.
Jeep tours are available to visit many of the old ghost towns as well as old mining camps, wildflowers, or just to take in the breathtaking mountain scenery. Half-day and full-day excursions are available. Reservations are recommended due to the popularity of this activity. You can make reservations by calling the San Juan Scenic Jeep Tours at 970 325-4645 or 888 624-8403.
Whatever your favorite outdoor activity is, you’ll find it in Montrose. For more information, you can call the Montrose Chamber of Commerce at 970 249-5000 or 800 923-5515. Their website is www.montrosechamber.com. Another good website is www.visitmontrose.com.