Road cyclists can test their endurance at one of the town’s top tourist attractions - the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Just a hair over five miles from the bottom to the park’s entrance station, the tough climb is well worth the effort when you make it into the park and admire the amazing views. Continue along South Rim Road to Warner Point to get the full Black Canyon experience. And you get to enjoy the downhill on the way back!
There is a parking lot and vault toilets at the base of the climb and inside the park there is water available at the visitor center (available seasonally).
For something at the opposite end of the spectrum head north towards Olathe where rolling farmland gives a bucolic vibe to your ride.
More information about rides in and around Montrose can be found at the Montrose Visitor’s Center or on their website here.
Montrose is surrounded by acre upon acre of public land, and on that land are hundreds of miles of mountain bike trails that offers something for everyone, from complete newcomers to the adrenaline-pumping sport to seasoned riders who are on the lookout for their next big thrill.
Some of the most popular trails in or near Montrose are Sidewinder Trail, Lower Spring Creek Trail, and Dry Creek Trail. Spanning adobe badlands to pinion and juniper-covered slopes, the trails will, if nothing else, make you feel like you have earned your lunch or dinner (check out some al fresco dining options in Montrose here).
Then there is the Buzzard Gulch Trail System just off Hwy 90. The system of single track mountain bike trails has options for beginner, intermediate and advanced riders. And it is just five miles southwest of downtown.
The beautiful yet arid landscape is sparsely populated with pinyon, juniper, and sagebrush which means there aren’t too many places to get out of the sun, so be sure to take enough water, especially on hot days. The trails are also open to hikers and horseback riders, so keep your eyes open!
Need some support or gear?
Montrose is also lucky enough to have three bike shops. Cascade Bicycles (21 North Cascade Avenue), Papa Wheelies (204 E. Main Street), and Bicycle Outfitters (223 North First Street). The latter two shops both offer mountain bike rental (during peak season it may be a good idea to call ahead to reserve) while Cascade offers cruiser bikes.
For getting around town, the Montrose Visitors’ Center has four bikes available to rent free of charge. Bikes must be returned by 4pm on the day of rental.
Montrose also has a great cycling community, so if you're looking to get involved or just want to ask some questions, the Montrose Area Bicycling Alliance (MABA) is a good place to start.
On top of offering great resources for road and mountain biking trails in the area, MABA also organizes full moon bike rides throughout the year. The next full moon ride is this week on July 26th. Everybody is welcome to join the 5-10 mile circular route through town.
The theme for the July 26th ride is RAVE, so don your glow-in-the-dark gear and bring your bike down to Storm King Distilling Co. to join in the fun. The ride begins at 9 PM but feel free to arrive early to enjoy some food and drinks beforehand. Be sure to bring lights. All ages and levels welcome. Visit montrosebicycle.org for more info.
On top of fun, social rides, the Montrose area also plays host to a local charity ride, the Grin and Barrett Charity Ride. The annual ride supports patient wellness through San Juan Healthcare and the Caring Friends Fund. Started back in 2004 by a group of cycling enthusiasts who were showing support for their friend, Tom Barrett, who was in Denver going through the hardest part of his fight with colon cancer, it is now a firm favourite of cyclists in the region.
Local bicycle shop Cascade Bicycles has been a long-time supporter of the ride and regularly enters individuals and teams. Jim Clark from Cascade Bicycles, says it’s a ride he looks forward to every summer, and even though it can be a very tough ride, it’s not as much about the distance as it is about the cause.
“I think for most folks that do the Grin and Barrett, regardless of the distance, it’s more about just wanting to be part of a local ride that’s homegrown,” said Clark. “[The ride] supports the San Juan Healthcare Foundation, it supports families who have loved ones with cancer. Sometimes it’s just giving them gas money to get to and from the hospital, or helping with lodging; the type of things insurance doesn’t normally cover.”
And you don't have to be a cyclist to get involved. “The post-ride celebration ... I can’t think of a [ride] that has a better catered, more fun, better music after party,” Clark adds.
The Grin and Barrett post-ride party is hosted at the Red Arrow Lodge on Saturday July 28. Tickets cost $25.
Ready to ride? Saddle up and start exploring Montrose on two wheels!