Montrose lies about 27 miles to the north of Ridgway along the Uncompahgre River at the junction of Highway 50 heading east and north to Grand Junction and Highway 550 heading south to Ridgway and Ouray. This makes Montrose a gateway to many wonders of the Colorado Western Slope, such as the Black Canyon of the Gunnison to the east, the Uncompahgre Plateau to the west, and the San Juan Mountains to the south.
Montrose was officially founded in 1882 after the Ute Indians were moved from their native lands and the early settlers were then allowed to purchase property. Originally founded to provide supplies to nearby mining communities, agriculture later became the primary industry, leading to the construction of the amazing Gunnison Tunnel that brought water from the Gunnison River to the Uncompahgre Valley. The Denver and Rio Grande Railroad came to Montrose in 1882 building lines from Denver through Montrose on its way to Salt Lake City, with a connection to Ridgway and Ouray, and later to Grand Junction. As a result, Montrose became an important transportation and commercial hub of the Western Slope.
Today, with a population of about 20,000, Montrose remains an important transportation, commercial, ranching, and agricultural center as well as a recreational haven for outdoor enthusiasts who come to Montrose to enjoy various activities such as hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, and star gazing. Real estate opportunities are good in Montrose, which tends to be more affordable than communities further south. New construction of both commercial and residential developments continues to be strong following the 2008 recession while not suffering from the urban sprawl experienced in many other larger metropolitan areas.