Montrose, Colorado

Last updated
Montrose, Colorado
City of Montrose [1]
South Townsend Avenue in Montrose.
"Quality Of Life Is Our Commitment "
"Stay here, play everywhere"
Montrose County Colorado Incorporated and Unincorporated areas Montrose Highlighted 0851745.svg
Location of the City of Montrose in Montrose County, Colorado.
Usa edcp location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location of the City of Montrose in the United States.
Coordinates: 38°28′37″N107°51′56″W / 38.47694°N 107.86556°W / 38.47694; -107.86556 Coordinates: 38°28′37″N107°51′56″W / 38.47694°N 107.86556°W / 38.47694; -107.86556
Country Flag of the United States.svg  United States
State Flag of Colorado.svg  Colorado
County Montrose County [2]
City Montrose [1]
Incorporated May 1, 1882 [3]
  Type Home rule municipality [1]
   Mayor Barbara Bynum [4]
   City Manager William E. Bell [5]
  Total18.45 sq mi (47.78 km2)
  Land18.45 sq mi (47.78 km2)
  Water0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
5,807 ft (1,770 m)
(2019) [8]
  Density1,072.25/sq mi (413.99/km2)
Time zone UTC−7 (MST)
  Summer (DST) UTC−6 (MDT)
ZIP codes [9]
81401, 81402 (PO Box), 81403
Area code(s) 970
FIPS code 08-51745
GNIS feature ID203328 [7]
Website City of Montrose

The City of Montrose is the home rule municipality that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of Montrose County, Colorado, United States. [10] The city population was 19,132 at the 2010 United States Census. The main road that leads in and out of Montrose is U.S. Highway 50. The town is located in cardinal-western Colorado, in the upper Uncompahgre Valley and is an economic, labor, and transportation waypoint for the surrounding recreation industry. It is also the home of a few major engineering projects, namely the Gunnison Tunnel.



Montrose was incorporated on May 2, 1882 and named after Sir Walter Scott's novel A Legend of Montrose by Oliver D. "Pappy" Loutzenhizer and Joseph Selig. The Denver & Rio Grande railroad was built west toward Grand Junction and reached Montrose later in 1882, and the town became an important regional shipping center. A branch railroad line served the mineral-rich San Juan Mountains to the south.

In 1909 the U.S. government completed construction of the Gunnison Tunnel, which provided irrigation water from the Gunnison River in the Black Canyon to the Uncompahgre Valley, helping turn Montrose into an agricultural hub. The Uncompahgre Project is one of the oldest of those in the area by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

Early in the area's history, prehistoric people lived in the vicinity and left rock art panels at the Shavano Valley Rock Art Site from 1000 BC or earlier until about AD 1881. The panels recorded cultural events and were a means of artistic expression. [11] The site is listed on the Colorado State Register of Historic Properties and the National Register of Historic Places. [11]

Montrose is the birthplace of American screenwriter and novelist Dalton Trumbo, who scripted films including Roman Holiday , Exodus , Spartacus and Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo .


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 18.4 square miles (48 km2); all of it is land.

Montrose is in the south end of the Uncompahgre valley, and is built on the Uncompahgre River, which runs to the north, where 60 miles further its waters will join the Colorado River. It is surrounded by, to the north, the widening Uncompagre Valley and the Grand Mesa, to the east, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, to the south, the San Juan Mountains, and to the west the Uncompahgre Plateau. The valley is arid, and is only arable due to the water from the Gunnison Tunnel and Ridgway Reservoir.


Montrose features a semi-arid Continental climate zone. The town sits on high grasslands in the Uncompahgre Valley of Western Colorado. Snowfall occurs during the winter but is usually short-lived due to the high altitude and abundant sunshine.

Climate data for Montrose, Colorado
Average high °F (°C)35.8
Average low °F (°C)12.3
Average precipitation inches (mm)0.62
Average snowfall inches (cm)6.9
Source: [12]


Historical population
1890 1,330
1900 1,217−8.5%
1910 3,254167.4%
1920 3,58110.0%
1930 3,566−0.4%
1940 4,76433.6%
1950 4,9644.2%
1960 5,0441.6%
1970 6,49628.8%
1980 8,72234.3%
1990 8,8541.5%
2000 12,34439.4%
2010 19,13255.0%
2019 (est.)19,782 [8] 3.4%
U.S. Decennial Census [13]

As of the census [14] of 2000, there were 12,344 people, 5,244 households, and 3,319 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,076.3 people per square mile (415.5/km2). There were 5,581 housing units at an average density of 486.6 per square mile (187.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 89.01% White, 0.44% African American, 0.98% Native American, 0.58% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 6.55% from other races, and 2.38% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 17.36% of the population.

There were 5,244 households, out of which 28.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.8% were married couples living together, 10.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.7% were non-families. 31.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 16.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.88.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 23.9% under the age of 18, 7.2% from 18 to 24, 25.8% from 25 to 44, 22.5% from 45 to 64, and 20.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $33,750, and the median income for a family was $42,017. Males had a median income of $30,674 versus $21,067 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,097. About 11.3% of families and 14.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.9% of those under age 18 and 9.8% of those age 65 or over.


Due to its relative affordability and proximity to many world-class outdoor recreation activities, Montrose is known as a manufacturing hub for outdoor products. Fly-fishing companies Ross Reels, Abel, and Airflo are headquartered in the city. [15] Additionally, Scott Fly Rods relocated to Montrose from Telluride in 1993. [16] Gordon Composites, maker of nearly 90 percent of the high-performance laminate material used in the bow-hunting industry, is located in Montrose. [17] Colorado Yurt Company, maker of handcrafted yurts, tipis and rugged canvas wall tents, is also located in Montrose. [18]

The Montrose City Council [19] is actively recruiting outdoor recreation businesses to boost the local economy and create primary jobs. In addition, the City is planning major river corridor construction and restoration with the company, which it plans to use to attract more industry, increase outdoor recreation and promote tourism. [20] [21] [22]

The Gunnison Tunnel canal is used for recreation: water rushing through the canal below the tunnel creates a kayak-surfing spot called the M-wave. [23] However, the wave is on private property and is unsafe for inexperienced riders. [24]

Tourist and recreation opportunities are important to the regional economy. Montrose is a gateway to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park to the east of town. In the winter, it is a transportation hub for ski areas of the San Juan Mountains to the south.

In November 2017, the City approved a $10 million fund for public infrastructure improvements [25] within the Colorado Outdoors development, [26] and was the recipient of a $2 million grant for a new trail system. [27] The GOCO grant was the largest single grant awarded to the City of Montrose in its history, and connects the newly built, $30 million Montrose Recreation Center [28] to the project, safely under-passing both major highways within the City.

The Montrose Urban Renewal Authority (MURA), [29] the taxing entity in partnership with the Colorado Outdoors project, was the recipient of 2019 Governors Award from Downtown Colorado, Inc for Best Urban Renewal project. [30]

In November 2019, Governor Jared Polis visited Montrose and Mayfly to unveil his Rural Economic Blueprint which focuses heavily on expanding rural access to broadband services and investing in rural economic development. [31] [32]

Russell Stover Candies announced in January 2020 that it would be closing its Montrose plant in the spring of 2021, eliminating 400 jobs and offering employees to relocate to plants in Kansas and Texas. The plant is listed as a "primary employer" for the city on its Economic Development Corporation website. [33] [34]

In October 2020, the City of Montrose announced a multi-year, multi-million dollar river restoration project along the Uncompahgre River, including a $785,00 grant from the Colorado Water Conservation Board. [35]


Fiber Optic Internet

The City of Montrose has several miles of fiber optic internet service installed, and boasts 1-gigabyte internet speeds throughout the community. [36]


Montrose Regional Airport serves the Montrose area with regional service to Denver. As the nearest major airport to the Telluride Ski Area, Montrose sees heavy seasonal service. Montrose has a city-run bus service. Its three lines run only during weekdays. [37] There are three lines that Montrose is part of Colorado's Bustang network. It is along the Durango-Grand Junction Outrider line. [38]

Major highways

See also

Related Research Articles

Montrose County, Colorado County in Colorado, United States

Montrose County is a county located in the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2010 census, the population was 41,276. The county seat is Montrose, for which the county is named.

Mesa County, Colorado County in Colorado, United States

Mesa County is a county located in the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2010 census, the population was 146,723. The county seat is Grand Junction. The county was named for the many large mesas in the area, including Grand Mesa.

Gunnison County, Colorado County in Colorado, United States

Gunnison County is a county located in the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2010 census, the population was 15,324. The county seat is Gunnison. The county was named for John W. Gunnison, a United States Army officer and captain in the Army Topographical Engineers, who surveyed for the transcontinental railroad in 1853.

Delta County, Colorado County in Colorado, United States

Delta County is a county located in the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2010 census, the population was 30,952. The county seat is Delta.

Delta, Colorado Home rule municipality in Colorado, United States

The City of Delta is the home rule municipality that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of Delta County, Colorado, United States. The population was 8,915 at the 2010 census, up from 6,400 at the 2000 census. The United States Forest Service headquarters of the Grand Mesa, Gunnison, and Uncompahgre National Forests are located in Delta.

Ridgway, Colorado Town in Colorado, United States

Ridgway is a home rule municipality in Ouray County, in the southwestern portion of the U.S. State of Colorado. The town is a former railroad stop on the Uncompahgre River in the northern San Juan Mountains. The town population was 713 at the 2000 census and 924 according to the 2010 census.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park National park in Colorado, United States

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is an American national park located in western Colorado and managed by the National Park Service. There are two primary entrances to the park: the south rim entrance is located 15 miles (24 km) east of Montrose, while the north rim entrance is 11 miles (18 km) south of Crawford and is closed in the winter. The park contains 12 miles (19 km) of the 48-mile (77 km) long Black Canyon of the Gunnison River. The national park itself contains the deepest and most dramatic section of the canyon, but the canyon continues upstream into Curecanti National Recreation Area and downstream into Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area. The canyon's name owes itself to the fact that parts of the gorge only receive 33 minutes of sunlight a day, according to Images of America: The Black Canyon of the Gunnison. In the book, author Duane Vandenbusche states, "Several canyons of the American West are longer and some are deeper, but none combines the depth, sheerness, narrowness, darkness, and dread of the Black Canyon."

Colorado Western Slope

The Western Slope is the part of the state of Colorado west of the Continental Divide. Bodies of water west of the Divide flow toward the Pacific Ocean. Water that falls and flows east of the Divide heads east. The Western Slope encompasses about 33% of the state, but has just 10% of the state's residents. The eastern part of the state, including the San Luis Valley and the Front Range, is the more populous portion of the state.

Gunnison River Tributary of the Colorado River

The Gunnison River is located in western Colorado, and it is one of the largest tributaries of the Colorado river. The 180-mile (289-km) long river flows east to west, and it has a drainage area of 7,923 square miles (20,520 km2) according to the USGS. The drainage basin of the Gunnison River collects water from different habitats, such as forests and alpine meadows, located the along Continental Divide. As the river flows westward, it carves through the San Juan Mountains. It flows into the Colorado River at Grand Junction.

Uncompahgre River

The Uncompahgre River is a tributary of the Gunnison River, approximately 75 mi (121 km) long, in southwestern Colorado in the United States. Lake Como at 12,215 ft (3723m) in northern San Juan County, in the Uncompahgre National Forest in the northwestern San Juan Mountains is the headwaters of the river. It flows northwest past Ouray, Ridgway, Montrose, and Olathe and joins the Gunnison at Confluence Park in Delta.

Curecanti National Recreation Area

Curecanti National Recreation Area(Pronounced or .) is a National Park Service unit located on the Gunnison River in western Colorado. Established in 1965, Curecanti National Recreation Area is responsible for developing and managing recreational facilities on three reservoirs, Blue Mesa Reservoir, Morrow Point Reservoir and Crystal Reservoir, constructed on the upper Gunnison River in the 1960s by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to better utilize the vital waters of the Colorado River and its major tributaries. A popular destination for boating and fishing, Curecanti offers visitors two marinas, traditional and group campgrounds, hiking trails, boat launches, and boat-in campsites. The state's premiere lake trout and Kokanee salmon fisheries, Curecanti is a popular destination for boating and fishing, and is also a popular area for ice-fishing in the winter months.

Uncompahgre National Forest

Uncompahgre National Forest is a U.S. National Forest covering 955,229 acres in parts of Montrose, Mesa, San Miguel, Ouray, Gunnison, Hinsdale, San Juan, and Delta Counties in western Colorado. Only its headquarters is in Delta County, in the city of Delta. It borders the San Juan National Forest to the south.

Uncompahgre Plateau

The Uncompahgre Plateau in western Colorado is a distinctive large uplift part of the Colorado Plateau. Uncompahgre is a Ute word that describes the water: "Dirty Water" or "Rocks that make Water Red".

Blue Mesa Reservoir

Blue Mesa Reservoir is an artificial reservoir located on the upper reaches of the Gunnison River in Gunnison County, Colorado. The largest lake located entirely within the state, Blue Mesa Reservoir was created by the construction of Blue Mesa Dam, a 390-foot tall earthen fill dam constructed on the Gunnison by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in 1966 for the generation of hydroelectric power. Managed as part of the Curecanti National Recreation Area, a unit of the National Park Service, Blue Mesa Reservoir is the largest lake trout and Kokanee salmon fishery in Colorado.

Gunnison Tunnel United States historic place

The Gunnison Tunnel is an irrigation tunnel constructed between 1905 and 1909 by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in Montrose County, Colorado. The 5.8 mile long tunnel diverts water from the Gunnison River to the arid Uncompahgre Valley around Montrose, Colorado.

Uncompahgre Valley

The Uncompahgre Valley is an agricultural valley of the Uncompahgre River around the town of Montrose in the western part of the U.S. state of Colorado. The valley is bounded to the south and east by the San Juan Mountains and to the west by the Uncompahgre Plateau. The valley contains about 135 acres of irrigable land, is 35 miles long, and approximately 12 miles wide.

U.S. Route 50 (US 50) is a part of the U.S. Highway System that travels from West Sacramento, California, to Ocean City, Maryland. In the U.S. state of Colorado, US 50 is a major highway crossing through the lower midsection of the state. It connects the Western Slope with the lower Front Range and the Arkansas Valley. The highway serves the areas of Pueblo and Grand Junction as well as many other smaller areas along its corridor. The long-term project to upgrade the highway from two lanes to a four lane expressway between Grand Junction and Montrose was completed in January 2005. Only about 25% of the remainder of highway 50 in Colorado is four lane expressway.

Cerro Summit Mountain pass in Colorado, US

Cerro Summit is a mountain pass in the State of Colorado, located about 14 miles east of Montrose, Colorado. It divides the watershed of the Cimmaron River to the east and the Uncompahgre River to the west, both of which eventually flow into the Gunnison River.


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  26. GOCO grant award
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