Whether you are spending a few days in Montrose, CO or simply passing through on your way to another Colorado destination, you will find several interesting things to do in and around the city. Outdoor lovers will find plenty of exciting outdoor activities at the Montrose Water Sport Park, the Flat Top Peach Valley Recreation Area and the Chipeta Lake State Wildlife Area. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Museum of the Mountain West
© Museum of the Mountain West
The Museum of the Mountain West contains a treasure-trove of historical artifacts relating to the history of the west, and is the result of Richard E. Fike’s life-long obsession with collecting historic western memorabilia. The museum encompasses a series of true-to-life reconstructions of the everyday shops and stores of a vintage town dating back to the 1800’s and exhibits include medical practices, cash-stores, a saloon, hotel, school, residence and even a railroad depot. Each of the individual displays features interesting vintage items including medical tools and implements, musical instruments, antique furniture and many other treasures. You may visit the museum from Tuesday to Saturday between 9.30am and 4pm.
Museum of the Mountain West, 68169 East Miami Rd, Montrose, Colorado 81401, Phone: 970-240-3400
2.Ute Indian Museum
© Ute Indian Museum
Essential viewing for all visitors to Montrose who would like to learn more about the history and culture of the Ute Indians, on whose ancestral land the town of Montrose is located. The museum you can anticipate visiting was expanded and rebuilt in 2017 with the collaboration of the three Ute tribes and endeavors to showcase the culture and traditions of the Ute tribe throughout the centuries. Your tour of the museum will take you on a journey of discovery as you trace the roots of this proud culture, see many of their traditional tools and clothing and learn how their traditions were forced to change when European Migration threatened their tribal lands.
Ute Indian Museum, 17253 Chipeta Rd, Montrose, CO 81403, Phone: 970-249-3098
3.Montrose Water Sport Park
© Chuck Carstensen/stock.adobe.com
Located in Riverbottom Park along a 1,000 foot stretch of river, the Montrose Water Sports Park promises a day of fun for water-babies of all ages and abilities. The park encompasses six drop structures which are ideal for a leisurely family river kayak with natural obstructions. For those who have not yet mastered kayaking there is a wading and beach area and a terraced spectator area for those who prefer to keep their feet dry. In addition to having fun on the river you can enjoy walking/hiking along a network of trails, picnicking, disc golf, ball fields and a playground for the younger visitors.
Montrose Water Sport Park, 1036 Riverbottom Drive, Montrose, CO 81401, Phone: 970-240-1400
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4.Montrose Botanic Gardens
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A visit to the Montrose Botanic Gardens will surprise and amaze all who wonder how it could be possible to establish a thriving garden in the high-desert community of Montrose, which is naturally more suited to cactus and tumbleweed. The garden is composed of several beautifully tended themed gardens which include the Entry Garden, the Promenade and the Xeriscape Garden (which is home to endemic Colorado plants and provides great inspiration for local water-wise gardeners). Other highlights of the garden include the Rock and Crevice Gardens, the Cactus/Succulent Gardens and the delightful Valley Garden. You can check their website to see if any of the garden’s annual events will be taking place during your visit.
Montrose Botanic Gardens, 1800 Pavilion Dr, Montrose, CO 81401, Phone: 970-275-8902
5.Montrose County Historical Museum
© Montrose County Historical Museum
Visitors to Montrose should not miss the opportunity to learn all about the pioneer history and culture of this little corner of Colorado by visiting the Montrose Country Historical Museum in downtown Montrose. The museum was established in 1973 and occupies the former premises of the Rio Grande Depot, where it showcases an intriguing collection of historic artifacts, most of which have been donated by local pioneer families. A few of the exhibits you will want to explore include the original ticket room, the electric room and the upstairs area. Outside the historic building you can admire agricultural equipment, carriages and even a vintage stagecoach.
Montrose County Historical Museum, 21 N Rio Grande Ave, Montrose, CO 81401, Phone: 979-249-2085
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6.Covered Bridge Ranch
© Covered Bridge Ranch
Located at the base of the San Juan Mountains near Montrose, the family-owned Covered Bridge Ranch is a 300-acre tree farm and wildlife refuge which hosts a number of delightful family events each year. A few of the animals that your children can look forward to meeting at the ranch include long-horn cattle, sheep, alpacas, goats, Clydesdale horses and even a miniature donkey named Abe. If you visit around December the family can enjoy picking their own Christmas tree, wreath decorating in the barn, Hayrides and climbing the giant Hay Stack. The ranch also has a great gift shop where you can buy a variety of locally crafted gifts and décor items.
Covered Bridge Ranch, 17249 6250 (Dave Wood Rd), Montrose, CO 81403, Phone: 970-249-8333
Long, long ago the Arapaho and Ute Indians followed a particularly scenic trail to move from their summer location in the mountains to spend winter in the warmer low-lying valleys. Today outdoor enthusiasts can follow in their footsteps as they explore the Ute Trail close to Montrose. The four-mile trail is considered to be easy and suitable for families who can look forward to wonderful views of alpine tundra as they make their way above the tree-line. The area is rich in wild flowers and you may be lucky enough to come across a good selection of wildlife including elk, coyotes and various raptors.
Ute Trail, Ute Crossing, Aspen, CO 80517
8.Cimarron Song Gallery
© Cimarron Song Gallery
For art lovers, no visit to Montrose would be complete without paying a visit to the Cimarron Song Gallery where you can feast your eyes on the superb art works of American Impressionist Gregory Packard. In addition to a fine collection of original art works by this core artist, you will also be able to admire the work of several other prominent guest artists including Ralph Oberg, Shirley Novak and Julee Hutchinson. The gallery is located on East Main Street and a red flag shows that the gallery is open for business; if no red flag is evident you can phone and make an appointment to view.
Cimarron Song Gallery, 901 E Main Street, Montrose, CO 81401, Phone: 970-275-0134
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9.Montrose Farmers Market
© Sherri Camp/stock.adobe.com
The Montrose Farmer’s Market invites all visitors to Montrose to come and meet local farmers and producers at the regular Saturday Farmer’s Market. During the peak summer season you will be able to buy a large selection of fresher-than-fresh locally-grown vegetables and fruit, while during the rest of the year the markets offers an extensive range of home-made goodies including jams and pickles, freshly-baked pies, honey, eggs, cheeses and locally-raised meats and poultry. In addition to edible goodies you can also purchase home-made soaps, lotions and potions and other local artisanal crafts. The market is open year-round and features a special Xmas Market in November and December.
Montrose Farmer’s Market, Centennial Plaza, 421 S First Street, Montrose, CO 81401, Phone: 970-209-8463
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10.Chipeta Lake State Wildlife Area
Located close to Montrose city, the Chipeta Lake State Wildlife Area is a great destination for nature lovers, bird watchers and other outdoor enthusiasts. Chipeta Lake is regularly stocked with fish and offers easy access for recreational fishing enthusiasts. The area attracts a wide variety of both local and migrant birds and bird lovers can have hours fun spotting Common Yellowthroats, Song Sparrow and perhaps even a Grey Catbird or two.
You can go hiking or walking along the river-front trailhead or bring a picnic to enjoy alongside the lake. The wildlife area is open all year round and there are restrooms and a parking area.
Chipeta Lake State Wildlife Area, Chipeta Rd, Montrose, CO 81401
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11.Montrose Field House
© New Africa/stock.adobe.com
Montrose Field House is an amazing community center which features a large variety of family-friendly activities for both locals and visitors. The center is home to indoor soccer for adults and youth as well as a remarkable variety of other activities including an obstacle course and bounce house for younger visitors. The center also offers courses and tuition in the performing arts including dance, music and more. There is a climbing wall, outdoor pool (with a fun water slide and life-guards in attendance), splash-pad for toddlers and younger visitors – the outdoor pool is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day each year. A sun-lounging area and barbecue facility completes the picture.
Montrose Field House, 16350 Woodgate Rd, Montrose, CO 81401, Phone: 970-249-7705
12.Flat-Top Peach Valley Recreational Area
Forming part of the huge 64,000-acre Gunnison Gorge Conservation Area, the Flat Top Peach Valley Recreational Area offers a host of exciting outdoor activities. There is a selection of maintained trails for various forms of motorized and non-motorized off-road vehicles as well as numerous hiking and biking trails to explore, including the opportunity to enjoy some primitive back-country camping surrounded by outstanding scenery. Gunnison Gorge offers exciting white-water rafting and trout-fishing enthusiasts will enjoy Gold Medal fishing opportunities. Although there are picnic tables and restrooms available you will need to bring your own water and food as there are no concessions in the area.
Flat Top Peach Valley Recreational Area, Flat Top Rd and Falcon Rd, Montrose, CO 81140, Phone: 970-240-5300
13.The Bridges Golf and Country Club
© The Bridges Golf and Country Club
The Bridges Golf and Country Club offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy a great round of golf surrounded by the majestic scenery of Colorado’s western slope. The golf course was designed by Jack Nicklaus and offers a challenging round for better players while still offering an enjoyable golfing experience for average to high-handicap players. Before or after your round you can enjoy a meal or snack at Remington’s full-service club-house restaurant and there are also several on-site suites if you would like to linger for a few days. The clubhouse also offers a fitness center where you can work out while admiring outstanding views of the San Juan Mountains.
The Bridges Golf and Country Club, 2500 Bridges Circle, Montrose, CO 81401, Phone: 970-252-1119
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14.Ted Nelson’s Steakhouse
© Ted Nelson’s Steakhouse
When only the very best quality certified Angus beef will satisfy your hunger pangs you need look no further than Ted Nelson’s Steakhouse. Owner Ted Nelson has been pleasing Montrose palates with his delicious steaks (and other equally tantalizing menu items) since 1962 and knows how to serve up excellent meals that will ensure customers return time after time. The dinner entree menu includes a selection of all your favorite beef cuts alongside ribs, chicken, salmon, prawn and pork dishes served with your choice of sides. The restaurant is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 4pm to 9pm and offers half-price Happy Hour drinks between 4pm and 6pm.
Ted Nelson’s Steakhouse, 103 Rose Lane, Montrose, 81401, Phone: 970-252-0262
15.The Stone House
© The Stone House
Located in south Montrose, the Stone House is a popular lunch and dinner destination for both locals and visitors to Colorado’s western slope. The Stone House offers a large and varied menu which will be sure to please just about everyone. The lunch menu includes fresh and tasty starters like Avocado Rolls and Coconut Shrimp followed by a selection of soups, salads, burgers, pastas, sandwiches and tacos. For dinner you can choose from a wider variety of popular pasta dishes as well as mouth-watering steaks, seafood and gourmet burgers. On Sunday mornings you are invited to enjoy their great Sunday Breakfast Buffet.
The Stone House, 1415 Hawk Parkway, Montrose, CO 81401, Phone: 970-240-8899
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© Camp Robber
Named after the Canadian Grey Jay, which is renowned for swooping down and robbing picnickers of their lunch, the Camp Robber restaurant has been a popular Montrose eatery since 1994. The restaurant strives to please palates with delicious and innovative hand-crafted foods with a distinctive southwestern flavor. Just a few of the delightful dishes you can choose from include their Green Chile Chicken Potato Soup, a selection of flavorsome New Mexico dishes as well as salads, pastas, steaks, seafood and mouth-watering desserts. The restaurant is open from Monday to Saturday from 11am to 9pm and offers a delicious Sunday champagne buffet from 9am to 2pm.
Camp Robber, 1515 Ogden Rd, Montrose, CO 81401, Phone: 970-765-0355
© George Dolgikh/stock.adobe.com
You will find it hard to beat Mi Mexico when it comes to finding an authentic taste of Mexico in Colorado’s western slope. Brightly painted chairs and colorful walls set the scene for your Mexican feast of fresh and flavorsome dishes like burritos, enchiladas and fajitas. These all-time favorite Mexican dishes are joined by a good selection of poultry, pork, steak and combination dishes to please all palates. Flavorsome egg dishes like Huevos Rancheros and Machaca con Heuvo are served all day long, not just for breakfast. The restaurant features a great bar where you can enjoy half-price drinks during their daily Happy Hour from 3pm to 6pm.
Mi Mexico, 1706 East Main Street, Montrose, CO 81401, Phone: 970-252-1000
18.Himalayan Pun Hill Kitchen
© Himalayan Pun Hill Kitchen
The Himalayan Pun Hill Kitchen offers visitors to Colorado the unique opportunity to sample authentic Nepalese cuisine right in the heart of Montrose. The restaurant offers a wide selection of Napali favorites, accompanied by delicious regional Indian dishes such as fragrant Kormas, spicy Vindaloos and smooth and succulent Makhanis. A few of the delicious typical Tibetan dishes you can anticipate include Sha Phing and Chow-chow. Vegetarians have a very wide choice of dishes to choose from and the delicious subtle flavors could easily convert the most ardent carnivore. The restaurant also offers two set menus which will give new-comers a good overview of the traditional flavors.
Himalayan Pun Hill Kitchen, 710 North Townsend Ave, Montrose, CO81401, Phone: 970-615-7028
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18 Best Things to Do in Montrose, Colorado
- Museum of the Mountain West, Photo: Museum of the Mountain West
- Ute Indian Museum, Photo: Ute Indian Museum
- Montrose Water Sport Park, Photo: Chuck Carstensen/stock.adobe.com
- Montrose Botanic Gardens, Photo: Bert Folsom/stock.adobe.com
- Montrose County Historical Museum, Photo: Montrose County Historical Museum
- Covered Bridge Ranch, Photo: Covered Bridge Ranch
- Ute Trail, Photo: geraldmarella/stock.adobe.com
- Cimarron Song Gallery, Photo: Cimarron Song Gallery
- Montrose Farmers Market, Photo: Sherri Camp/stock.adobe.com
- Chipeta Lake State Wildlife Area, Photo: NADEZHDA/stock.adobe.com
- Montrose Field House, Photo: New Africa/stock.adobe.com
- Flat-Top Peach Valley Recreational Area, Photo: rcfotostock/stock.adobe.com
- The Bridges Golf and Country Club, Photo: The Bridges Golf and Country Club
- Ted Nelson’s Steakhouse, Photo: Ted Nelson’s Steakhouse
- The Stone House, Photo: The Stone House
- Camp Robber, Photo: Camp Robber
- Mi Mexico, Photo: George Dolgikh/stock.adobe.com
- Himalayan Pun Hill Kitchen, Photo: Himalayan Pun Hill Kitchen
- Cover Photo: Uwalthie Pic Project/stock.adobe.com
Attraction Spotlight: Museum of the Mountain West
Located in Montrose, Colorado, the Museum of the Mountain West is a nonprofit museum dedicated to preserving the history, culture, and memorabilia of the American Rocky Mountains, with a particular focus on pioneer culture of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Museum of the Mountain West is the vision of Richard Fike, whose lifelong love of memorabilia connected to the American West began at the age of four years old.
By the age of eight, Fike had begun displaying his memorabilia as a museum collection within his family home’s guest room, and by the age of 12, he had started a card catalog for his collection of Western-themed artifacts. Throughout his career as a historical archaeologist, Fike served as state archaeologist under the Colorado and Utah Bureaus of Land Management and represented both states as part of the Federal and State Registers of Historic Places. Together with his wife, Carol Harris-Fike, a retired Colorado public school administrator, he opened the Museum of the Mountain West in 1997 as a means of preserving the history and culture of the American West, with a particular focus on the Rocky Mountains area and pioneer culture between 1880 and 1930. In 2005, the Museum of the Mountain West was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, with all museum buildings permanently preserved as nonprofit donations.
Permanent Exhibits and Attractions
Today, the Museum of the Mountain West is owned and operated by Fike, who serves as Museum Director, and Harris-Fike, who oversees the museum’s educational programming, grant writing, and docent training and serves as principal composer for the museum’s displays. More than 500,000 artifacts of the Old American West are displayed, including artifacts linked to railroad, automobile, and agricultural technologies of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as well as social and cultural memorabilia and ephemera connected to Old West towns. A museum gift shop, opened in 2006, also sells artwork, memorabilia, and Old West-themed souvenirs.
A variety of typical Old West business and residence areas have been recreated within the museum complex, housed within a 10,000-square-foot main building adjacent to a mock town setting. Business include the Furman’s Drug Store and Pharmacy, Schmidt’s Cash Store, and Holland’s Dry Goods general storefronts, which are stocked with period-appropriate goods, cash registers, and wall displays. A Miner’s Delight Saloon evokes a turn-of-the-century bar atmosphere, and the Stott Hotel and Saloon features a wooden bar recovered from an 1890 saloon in Telluride. A recovered 1882 Montrose Railroad Depot contains an antique stove, bedroom areas for workers, and a display of lobby posters from every film produced in Colorado during the 20th century. The Portland Residence showcases a typical Old West pioneer house, and the Olathe Section House reconstructs a railroad section house also used as a post office. The Jutten School House and Teacherage, constructed in 1889, has been relocated from a location along United States Highway 50, displaying a one-room schoolhouse equipped for 23 students and teacher’s living quarters. Other reconstructed buildings include 1885 and 1944 Dental Offices, a Doctor’s Office, a 1913 German Lutheran Church, a Carriage Works, and a Tonsorial Parlor.
Ongoing Programs and Education
All visitors to the Museum of the Mountain West receive two-hour guided tours by museum docents, elaborating on the history and cultural significance of each building and sharing anecdotes about life in the pioneer days of Western Colorado. Group tours for 15 or more visitors may be scheduled by contacting the museum in advance via phone or email. Educational tours are also offered for elementary and secondary student groups of 10 or more students, incorporating Colorado curriculum standards into tour discussions.
Museum volunteers are accepted on an ongoing basis, serving as tour docents, greeters, and maintenance and restoration workers. In addition to gift shop sales, the museum also maintains an online eBay store, offering artifacts dating between 1880 and 1930. The museum’s German Lutheran Church building may be rented for private special events, including weddings, banquets, concerts, and business seminars, with a bridal room in the church’s basement offered for wedding preparations.
The museum’s annual Tribute to Western Movie Days event pays tribute to feature films shot in Colorado, featuring appearances by industry stunt workers and Old West historians and authors such as Chris Enss. Gunfight reenactments are presented, and performers dressed in period attire stroll the museum’s grounds, creating an authentic turn-of-the-century experience for visitors. Crafting and trade demonstrations are offered, including blacksmithing, candlemaking, cooking, and spinning demonstrations. Craft vendors sell Western-themed goods and artwork, and children’s activities and live music performances are featured.
68169 Miami Rd, Montrose, CO 81401, Phone: 970-240-3400
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