Two days in Montrose, CO

montrose ute trail gunnison river

black canyon of the gunnison

montrose ute trail gunnison river

Originally, we had wanted to spend a couple nights at Ridgway State Park, exploring the trails there and around Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, but the snow event that forced us to reroute through Moab and Grand Junction kept us to the north of Ridgway. We spent a couple days in Montrose instead, and enjoyed the small town and its breweries. Surprise! There are breweries EVERYWHERE nowadays.

Campground

We stayed at yet another KOA. It was close to town, with super friendly staff members and nice, big, grassy campsites. I forgot to take a picture, but Bugsy enjoyed her little fenced-in yard.

Hiking

montrose - 2

montrose ute trail

montrose gunnison river

montrose ute trail sleeping dog

Black Canyon National Park is more about driving than hiking. We drove through the park, stopping at overlooks, admiring the views of the deep, dark canyon with the Gunnison River far below. The rocks aren’t actually black in Black Canyon; the Black comes from the shadows cast by the tall walls in the narrow canyon. It’s dramatic and beautiful and in stark contrast to the red rocks we’d gotten used to seeing everywhere. Hiking in the National Park consists of walking to overlooks, and hiking down, down, down the cliffs to the river–and then up, up, up. And, of course, the hikes are not dog-friendly. But just outside the National Park you can hike down to the Gunnison River along a longer, gentler trail through a wider, greener section of the gorge. The Ute Trail reaches the Gunnison River after descending about four miles, with a few stellar overlooks along the way. The hike was one of our favorites from the entire trip! Warning: you’ll need a rugged vehicle to reach the trailhead.

Drinking and Eating

horsefly brewing co

montrose indian food

J wrote about the breweries we visited in Montrose here: Horsefly, Two Rascals, and Colorado Boy. The highlight of our brewery tour for me was dinner at Horsefly: fish tacos! We also had pretty good Indian carry-out from Guru’s. Overall, the food and drink in Montrose weren’t notable, but a town with the Black Canyon and the Ute Trail doesn’t need anything else at all to make it a worthwhile stop!

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