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Montrose, CO, is the gateway to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, one of America’s lesser-known (but absolutely amazing) national parks. The park is known for its imposing cliffs and the grueling hiking trails that weave throughout them. It’s a park for the adventurous and those who prefer to experience nature in relative solitude.
The town of Montrose is an excellent base camp for exploring the park, with informative museums that showcase the area’s rich history along with plenty of outdoor opportunities beyond the park’s boundaries. Admittedly, it’s a little off the beaten path; when you rent an RV in Montrose, the nearest major city, Denver, is nearly a five hours’ drive away.
While Black Canyon of the Gunnison doesn’t get as many visitors as some of the state’s more popular parks like Rocky Mountain National Park, it has enough to justify the existence of several RV parks close to Montrose.
Cedar Creek RV Park is the closest, just a mile outside the city center, and has sites with full hookups for your Montrose travel trailer rental or RV and also has a mini-golf course. Next to Cedar Creek is Montrose/Black Canyon National Park KOA Journey, which has all the usual amenities, plus a pool during the summer and hot tub/sauna facilities.
River Bend RV Park is a few miles south of town situated in a beautiful green space along the river, and could be a peaceful place to set up camp with the rental RV near Montrose. Uncompahgre River RV Park is located about 10 miles north of town just steps from the river. They have full hookups, laundry facilities, and even a small lending library if you’re in need of something to read during your stay there.
If you’d like to avoid some of the national park crowds during your Montrose RV rental vacation, consider Black Canyon RV Park and Campground, about 25 miles east of Montrose. It should be a little quieter here.
When you need to fuel up your Montrose motorhome rental, there’s a truck stop in town; you shouldn’t have trouble maneuvering your rig there and they have showers and laundry facilities if you need them.
After you’ve spent days exploring Black Canyon of The Gunnison, take a break from the rugged world and explore the sites around the city. The Museum of the Mountain West houses some fantastic exhibits from the turn of the 19th century, many of them set up to recreate specific spaces such as a dentist’s office or an Old West saloon. The Ute Indian Museum is another great place to learn the history of Colorado’s oldest group of indigenous people. The museum delves into the tribe’s culture, politics, and ability to adapt to change as other tribes and European settlers moved into the region.
You’ll find excellent food selections at the various eateries around town, and there are some decent bars and distilleries around, too. See a show at the Magic Circle Players, one of Colorado’s oldest live theater venues. Shows are reasonably priced, similar to what you’d pay to watch something at a movie theater.
When you book an RV in Montrose, you can easily explore the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, as it’s only a few miles away and has dozens of great outdoor activities. Hiking trails along the canyon’s rim allow visitors to peer thousands of feet down to the Gunnison River, without being overly difficult. More intrepid hikers will enjoy the trails that extend from the rim down to the riverbanks, an endeavor that is both incredibly challenging and rewarding as it allows you to observe the various microclimates of the canyon and the various flora and fauna that make their home there.
While the most obvious outdoor recreational opportunities can be found at Black Canyon, there are also a number of smaller parks to explore and activities to participate in that don’t involve entering the park. The Montrose Botanical Gardens is a nice, low-key spot to explore if you’re interested in seeing some of the area’s native plant life and taking a relaxing stroll. For more of an adrenaline rush though, stop in at the Montrose Water Sports Park - a rapid filled section of the Uncompahgre River. There are kayak rentals available to assist in further exploration of the river’s rushing waters. If you’re not a kayaker though, the park still has some great walking trails, picnic areas, and a small bouldering wall.