Southwestern most county in Colorado | Population 26,266
Home to most of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe with its headquarters at Towaoc, CO. Approximately one third of Montezuma County’s 2,040 square miles is privately owned, one third is tribal land and the remaining third is federally managed lands. Tourism is a main driver of the county economy although agriculture and business have increased in recent years.
Area attractions include:
Mesa Verde National Park
President Theodore Roosevelt established Mesa Verde National Park on June 29, 1906 as the first national park of its kind to ‘preserve the works of man’. Mesa Verde has over 4,700 archeological sites that include 600 cliff dwellings and many other sites to include pithouses, pueblos, farming structures and masonry towers of the Ancestral Puebloans. The historical sites at Mesa Verde are some of the most notable and best preserved ruins in North America. The national park allows visitors to have guided or self guided tours throughout the park year round along with lodging and camping and dining.
Canyon of the Ancients National Monument contains the highest known archeological site density in the United States encompassing 176,000 acres of federal land administered by the Bureau of Land Management. The monument contains more than 8,300 recorded sites inhabited by humans for 10,000 years.
Deeded by Henry Van Kleeck on July 2, 1919, the 9.6 acres of land became a National Monument by Woodrow Wilson that December. Yucca House is one of the largest archeological sites in southwest Colorado.
This monument, once home to over 2,500 people, is spread out between southwest Colorado and Southeast Utah. Known for its six prehistoric villages of multistory towers built between 1200 and 1300 AD.
Camping, boating, fishing, hiking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and ice fishing.
Largest reservoir in the San Juan National Forest and second largest in Colorado. Seasonal activities include camping, fishing, boating and a full service marina.
San Juan National Forest ecompasses over 1.8 million acres containing three wilderness areas; the Weminuche and South San Juan as well as the Piedra Area. San Juan National Forest offers something for everyone from riding the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad to climbing 14 of Colorado’s 14ers. Headquarters is located in Durango, Colorado with district offices in Bayfield, Dolores and Pagosa Springs. The San Juan National Forest spans into the counties of Archuleta, Conejos, Dolores, Hinsdale, LaPlata, Mineral, Montezuma, Rio Grande, San Miguel and San Juan.
Great Parks Bicycle Route SouthThis route, entirely in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, offers challenging biking, including riding on Trail Ridge Road, the highest continuous paved road in the continental United States, located in Rocky Mountain National Park. Eleven miles of it are above treeline.
San Juan Skyway
The byway passes through five million acres of both the San Juan and Uncompahgre National Forests. Traveling the length of the byway will take you through high mountain passes and historical towns and by waterfalls and acres of wildflowers. In autumn, the aspen trees turn brilliant colors. Sunset Magazine recognized the area's superior beauty by writing, "The San Juan Skyway... possibly America's greatest fall-color drive...its aspen views are alternately breathtaking and intimate."
Trail of the Ancients
The byway cuts through snow-capped mountains and red rock landscape of southeastern Utah, continues through the arid desert of northeastern Arizona and ends in the sandstone lined canyons and lush valleys of southwestern Colorado.
The Colorado byway travels through the Four Corners National Monument, following the path of State Highway 145 south to its intersection with US Highway 160 and Cortez. It then passes by the southwest area of the San Juan National Forest up to Pleasant View. The byway then travels south to Utah.
Mountain bikers paradise! Phil's World is known for two words, RIB CAGE! The most prominent feature of the area, Rib Cage is fast and fun, rolling terrain that will make you hoop and holler. You can lap this feature, but there is plenty of other fun to be had as well. Ledges and Stinking Spring trails are furthest from the trailhead, and offer a bit more challenging terrain, and also the best views.
If solitude is what you are looking for, this is not the area for you, at the parking lot at least. Because of the one way direction, once the parking lot is left behind, you would think you are the only one on the trails.
Dolores River Canyon
Situated between Dolores and Mancos, the Dolores River Canyon cuts through the strata showcasing its beautiful vertical walls of color. The canyon exposes the oldest exposed rock limestone of the Pennsylvanian Period that formed over 300 million years ago. Recreation includes hiking, backpacking, photography, rock climbing and rafting.
Conquistador Golf Course
Conquistador Golf Club in Cortez, Colorado is a hidden gem of the Four Corners area and is located in the southwest corner of the state. Conquistador is an 18 hole par 72 championship golf course with rolling hills, large trees, water that comes into play on 8 holes, small undulating greens and panoramic views of the La Plata Mountains, Mesa Verde and the Ute Mountain. With an elevation of 6,200 feet you can enjoy cool summer weather on a golf course that challenges any skill level.
Hawkins Preserve https://cortezculturalcenter.org/hawkins-preserve/
Hawkins Preserve is a 122 acre archeological conservation easement gifted by Mr. Jack Hawking in the 1990’s in Cortez. Hawkin’s area is open to the public for hiking and climbing.
Four Corners Monument https://navajonationparks.org/tribal-parks/four-corners-monument/
Four Corners Monument is forty miles from Cortez on the Navajo Tribal Park. It is the only place in the US where you can set foot in the four states of Arizona, Colorado, Utah and New Mexico at once.
Farm Bistro opened its door in 2009 with a farm to table concept bringing in the local farmers to create some amazing dishes.
Thai Cortez and Sushi https://thaicortez.wordpress.com/
Thai Cortez and Sushi opened in 2015 in Cortez and added a second location in Pagosa Springs in 2018. Wonderful variety of Thai and Sushi brought to the Four Corners, local favorite.
Destination Grill https://www.destinationgrill.com/
Wonderful American Cuisine open 7 days a week with a conference center to rent for events or meetings.
La Casita De Cortez https://www.lacasitadecortez.com/home
Voted #1 in for Mexican Food. Check out their menu and speciality margaritas.
Beny’s Diner https://benysdiner.com/
Pipp’s Cafe https://pipposcafe98.wixsite.com/mysite
Dolores River Brewery https://www.doloresriverbrewery.com/
Community top place to hangout with beer, pizza and events since 2002.
Montezuma Mexican Restaurant no website, has a facebook
The Depo- facebook only too
Established in 1982 and known for their Hangburgers of beef, elk and buffalo.
Absolute Bakery and Cafe https://www.absolutebakery.com/
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Bakery with wonderfully crafted meals and baked goodies.
Missy’s- facebook page
Delicious homemade variations of your favorite diner foods.
Mancos Brewery https://mancosbrewingcompany.com/
Local brew and ciders with local live music and pizza, makes this place a wonderful hang out on a summer afternoon.
Hosts a variety of events in its multi use event center located in Cortez, CO. Events include Ag Expo, Ute Mountain Round-Up Rodeo, 12 Hours of Mesa Verde Bike Race, Four Corners Home and Garden Show, Cortez Gun Show, County Fair, Colorado High School Rodeo, Cross County Meets, Dog Shows, Car Shows, Barrel Races, Team Ropings, Hunter Ed Classes, Demolition Derby’s, Native American Rodeos, Ranch Rodeos, Four States Jr Rodeo and much more. Fairgrounds is open to the public for private use and open riding.
Farmers Markets most months year round in one of the welcoming towns of Cortez, Dolores and Mancos.
Southwest Memorial Hospital serving the Four Corners in Southwest Colorado.Located in Cortez. Emergency services, primary care, MRI, X Ray, mammography, sleep center, orthopedics, physical therapy, birthing center, surgery center, rehabilitation, pharmacy, pediatrics, family health, podiaty, socail work, vaccination clinics, womens health, and wound care. https://www.swhealth.org/
Commercial flights by Boutique Air and General Aviation services seven days a week.
Located in Cortez
Cotez holds the county seat and is the most populated within Montezuma County. Elevation of 6,191 and city population at 2020 census was 8,766. Home to one of America’s richest archeological centers.
Local employment https://www.actionlocalcolorado.com/cities/cortez-co
Backpack company based in Cortez
Recreation center https://www.cityofcortez.com/169/Parks-Recreation
Community Recreation Center with daily classes, indoor and outdoor pools with water slides and a lazy river, rock wall, racquet courts, fitness equipment, meeting rooms, pool table and child care. Cortez Parks and Recreation Department offers youth and adult sport programs and general recreation programs.
Schools - https://www.cortez.k12.co.us/
Elevation of 6,936 feet with 2020 census population of 885. Yearly events include farmers markets, Arts and Crafts Fair, Community Yard sale, Summer and Harvest Fests and Christmas at the Galloping Goose.
Boogie Draw Beat Down https://www.doloresrace.com/
Annual bike race for change.
Dolores River Fest https://www.doloresriverfest.org/
Enjoy the yearly river fest with music and parade down the river through the town park.
PreK- High School
Gateway to Mesa Verde. Elevation of 7,000 with 2010 census population 1,336 residents in town and about 3,000 in the Mancos Valley. Founded in 1894 through Ranchers in the Mancos Valley and was a stop along the Denver, Rio Grande and Southern Railway that connected Telluride, Dolores, Mancos and Durango. Mancos still sits as a wonderful hub for outdoor activities and events and is part of many scenic byways.
The Community Center hosts many community events weekly.
“Where the West still lives” https://mancosvalley.com/
Economic Development https://choosemancos.com/
Mancos Days https://www.mancosdays.com/
62 years of Tradition celebration in July! From vendor booths, to volleyball and softball tournaments, books sales, games, main street water fight, car show and parade.
Community College https://www.pueblocc.edu/Mancos