61 miles S. of Grand Junction, 108 miles N. of Durango
Although at first glance this quiet city of about 16,000 residents is little more than a commercial center for area ranchers and farmers, Montrose is rapidly being discovered as an ideal base camp for hikers, mountain bikers, anglers, and others who want to explore western Colorado. Located at an elevation of 5,794 feet, Montrose is surrounded by national forests, within a short drive of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Curecanti National Recreation Area.
Ute Chief Ouray and his wife, Chipeta, ranched in the Uncompahgre Valley here until the government forced the tribe to migrate to Utah in 1881. Once the Utes were gone, settlers founded the town of Pomona, named for the Roman goddess of fruit. Later the town's name was changed to Montrose, for a character in a Sir Walter Scott novel. The railroad arrived in 1882, providing relatively reliable transportation and a means to ship out potatoes, beets, and other crops; and Montrose began in earnest its role as a center for some of Colorado's major food producers, a role it still plays today.
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