Colorado : Safety by City
- Cañon City
- Colorado Springs
- Fort Collins
- Grand Junction
Montrose, Colorado is where the mountains meet the wild west with a southwestern U.S. flair in small-town America.
The city itself is worth exploring, but it’s also a great base camp for some of the most amazing natural wonders of western Colorado.
The city is home to just 20,000 people leading as simple or adventurous lives as they’d like.
It’s also the closest airport to the popular ski destination of Telluride, so the ski season brings tens of thousands through this town.
The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is just 20 minutes away with its incredible vertical walls and dark geological surface.
It looks like the sinister sister of the Grand Canyon, but with so many adventures to be had.
The adventures are endless through each season here, with ghost towns to explore, a replica of the old West at the Museum of the Mountain West, and a list of scenic drives longer than your arm.
This is a place where you can move at a slower pace, have that extra cup of coffee, and stay up a little later at night to see the majesty of the evening skies.
A place where they say “Howdy” instead of “Hello.”
A space to breathe and find balance without worrying about traffic or pressure to “do it all” in one day.
Warnings & Dangers in Montrose
OVERALL RISK : LOW
There's a low overall risk here. It's a small town and it has mostly small-town crime levels. There are some really concerning crime numbers to discuss, but mostly things that personal safety awareness can counteract.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
All Points Transit runs the bus system here and you can get a day pass for just $4. There are two routes, one that goes east/west and the other goes north/south. There are a lot more taxi services & shuttles than you'd expect, but many of them are geared toward Telluride trips. Rideshares are available too. There's low risk with all options.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
There were no pickpockets reported in 2020, so you've got a low risk here. The biggest theft category, as with most cities, is auto break-in thefts. There was a good percentage of thefts that involved stolen bicycles. Theft does have a high rate here with a one in 27 chance of being a victim.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
Winter storms and wildfires are the biggest concerns here. Blizzards can last days with blowing snow making visibility zero. Wildfires are at the mercy of the wicked winds in western Colorado and can switch direction quickly, leading to emergency evacuations. The county has an elaborate emergency plan for any situation that arises, so you should read up on this medium risk before the trip.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
There is a low risk of robbery here with just five robberies reported by the Montrose Police Department in 2020. There are a lot of people coming and going in this transportation hub, so that could bring some danger that has nothing to do with the city itself, but with the people who travel through it.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
There's a low risk of terrorism. Even though it's a western Colorado hub for cars, trains, and semi-trucks, there are still bigger targets for terrorists to hit in the state and the region.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
The most-reported scams here impact people who are financially struggling, such as a food stamps scam, so a tourist shouldn't have anything to worry about. There's a low risk.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM
There were 76 sexual assaults in 2020, a 41% increase from 2019. That's a staggering number for a community this small. One of the cases involved a man at a church reportedly assaulting a child and it was caught on video. I would definitely put a medium risk on this town just so women can be hyper-aware of the risk. The statistics don't discern between domestic situations and strangers, but the average rate per 100,000 people in the U.S. is 38 sexual assaults and in Montrose, it's 374.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
There's a low risk. The 2021 Water Quality Report shows no violations and all standards were met at a state and federal level.
Safest Places to Visit in Montrose
There’s a main street lined with boutiques and restaurants.
Antique stores are big here too.
Also, I don’t think I’ve seen one small town have quite so many coffee shops!
The Montrose Botanic Garden has nine floral areas to explore, each sharing a bit of the Colorado plant and flower wilderness.
At Halloween and Christmas, the gardens are decorated to match the season.
Admission is free, but donations are encouraged.
The Cimmaron Song Gallery is home to some amazing local artists and the paintings are for sale.
Check out the Museum of the Mountain West to see an old western town that has been reassembled in its original state.
You will genuinely feel like you’re walking through an 1800s town.
The dentist’s office is a little creepy, but otherwise, there’s so much interesting stuff to see how life was done without running water or power.
While you’re here you must check out the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, which is just a short drive east.
Jagged, dark cliffs rise up over a flowing river and you can hike, fish, camp, or just drive along to see the scenery.
Several parts of this park are closed in the winter due to heavy snowfall and dangerous conditions, but you still have plenty of room to explore.
You can also explore the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area north of Montrose.
Across 63,000 acres you have everything from badlands to pine-covered areas.
There’s a hiking, scrambling, rock climbing, mountain biking, camping, boating, and white water rafting available.
Places to Avoid in Montrose
Crime maps show the northwestern part of town has the most reported incidents.
If you have flexibility about where you can stay in town, the hotels along South Townsend near Niagara Road are in a safer area.
You should avoid traveling in winter if you aren’t prepared.
Don’t roll your eyes at me.
I mean prepared by Colorado standards.
There is a Winter Traction Law in Colorado that requires certain vehicles, tire types, tire tread depth, and tire chains when extreme winter weather hits.
You should have an ice scraper, hand warmers, towing strap, and blankets in the car too – just in case.
Montrose is at 5800 feet above sea level, which could give altitude sickness to people who are used to being near sea level.
Don’t go rock climbing in Black Canyon on the first day.
Give your body time to acclimate.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Montrose
- There’s a website and app for COtrip which helps you better plan driving around Colorado. You can zoom in and out to see road closures, seasonal closures, wildfire dangers, and all kinds of other road conditions. This is a mountain traveler’s best friend.
- There might be times when snow chains are required on all vehicles. When this happens, you should know this is the last protective step before a road gets shut down. Sometimes the road you come into Montrose on isn’t the road you can leave on.
- The outdoor areas around Montrose, like Black Canyon and Gunnison Gorge, are prone to flash flooding in the spring and summer. Storms can build up quickly in the afternoons in Colorado and heavy rains turn into fast-moving water that could sweep you off your feet.
- Combine the altitude with low humidity and not only can you get altitude sickness, but dehydration can set in quickly too. Keep drinking water all day long and don’t count coffee, sodas, or alcohol toward your water intake amounts.
- When you are in the mountain areas, never throw anything off the side of a cliff. There could be hikers or wildlife down below and the National Park Service says even a small stone can be deadly when tossed over the edge of a high cliff.
- Bears are not as common in this park of Colorado as others, but that doesn’t mean you won’t run into one. Bring bear spray as a last resort, but learn how to use it before you go. It’s a last-ditch effort if a bear is being aggressive, not a pre-emptive spray.
- Learn how to react to different wildlife. You can climb a tree to avoid a mountain lion, but a bear can climb up there with you. You can’t outrun either one of them, but how you act when you see each one is a bit different.
- Ask at each park how you should store any food you are bringing. Human food is very attractive to wildlife and you’re easier to find than a fast-swimming fish. Some parks require bear-proof containers. Others require food to be hung from trees. Never leave any food, wrappers, or vanity items behind. Even toothpaste is appealing to a hungry bear.
- The nationwide opioid crisis has reached even small-town rural Colorado. While there are loose marijuana laws here, illegal prescription drugs are causing a dangerous and deadly problem here. Never take any medication you haven’t gotten from a licensed pharmacist. Some of the street drugs look a lot like the real thing yet might be loaded with a deadly dose of Fentanyl.
- Car break-ins and thefts are one of the most reported crimes in Montrose. Lock up your car, take out all belongings and confirm the windows are rolled up before you go to sleep at night or before leaving the car in a parking area.
So... How Safe Is Montrose Really?
There is no sense of impending doom or danger in Montrose, but it has its fair share of crime.
There were 505 felony arrests and 1818 misdemeanor arrests in 2020.
Theft, criminal mischief, and domestic violence were the top categories of crimes.
There have been three homicides since 2011 here, so the crime that does happen is generally dangerous but not deadly.
The drug problem here doesn’t help as drug use and desperation to get more drugs fuels more crime, yet you can’t arrest your way to a drug-free community.
That requires community resources to help.
There were 136 drug arrests in 2020 and 152 mental health holds.
Weather is a real safety concern, but if you keep track of it daily you shouldn’t be caught off guard.
There are just three ways in and out of Montrose, going north, south, and east.
Even if an evacuation sends you in a direction you don’t want to go, take the evacuation route and then figure out the plan home later.
Time is of the essence with wildlife and winter storms.
How Does Montrose Compare?
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- Visas - When you enter the country, your passport or Visa gets checked, but after that, you can roam the country freely without additional processing. You will need an ID to rent cars, and hotels, get fishing/hunting licenses, and for some attractions.
- Currency - The U.S. Dollar is the only currency accepted here. You can use credit cards, mobile pay, or cash.
- Weather - Winter means you should have a base layer, a warm middle layer, and a waterproof outer layer. Temperatures can get bitterly cold here, so gloves, hats, and waterproof boots are a necessity.
- Airports - The Montrose Regional Airport is at the north end of town, and unless you want to drive five hours to Denver to an international airport, this is the best option you have.
- Travel Insurance - You want travel insurance for a place with so much beauty but so many potential hazards that can impact a vacation. Make sure your policy covers wildfires and winter storm situations.
Montrose Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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