While we were in Colorado, Tom and I discovered a new, favorite city: Montrose. Our favorite cities are all about 20,000 to 30,000 people – big enough to have all the stores, restaurants, hospital, etc, we want – but also small enough that they are easy to maneuver and explore.
Montrose Colorado is the closest city to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. It is on US 50, an hour south of I-70, and less than an hour north of Telluride. Like many western cities, it has a thriving artist community, with many wonderful sculptures on display on the street corners. There are lots of parks with BLM land surrounding the city so outdoor activities are encouraged. Montrose has the usual chain stores and restaurants, but it also has some unique stores in the lively little downtown and wonderful restaurants spread throughout the city.
While we were in Montrose we went grocery shopping at one of the best-stocked stores we have seen in the west. We went to church at Montrose United Methodist. We ate at a wonderful restaurant called “Camp Robber.” It was my choice, and I picked it because of its unusual name and because it advertised “creative cuisine made from scratch, southwestern style tastes with local flare, award-winning desserts.” The food was excellent and they had a yummy selection of homemade pies, cakes, and cobblers.
Montrose is known for its outdoor spaces – 29 parks within the city limits. We went to the Botanical Garden, which is tiny but well-labeled and beautifully laid out. We also spent an afternoon at Ucompahgre Park which had a three mile hiking path / paved bike trail along the river and up the top of Sunset Mesa. It also had picnic areas, ball fields, soccer fields, mountain bike paths, a disc golf course (up the side of the mesa!), and a watersports park. We enjoyed standing on the bridge and watching kayakers take on the man-made water challenges.
Montrose Colorado is a wonderful place to spend a day, a week, or a lifetime. It is an excellent home base for exploring the western slope area of Colorado. We will certainly return to Montrose to continue our exploration of Colorado.