Montrose Water Sports Park

Length: 1,000 feet of river
Location: Montrose, Colorado
 Skill: Beginner to Expert
Mental Game: Prepare For A Fun Day

The Montrose Water Sports Park is a “must-do” if you come to Southwest Colorado and love kayak, paddleboard, or surf. Yes, we said surf!

The Park runs for 1,000 feet of the Uncompahgre River and is one of the largest human-made water features in Colorado. What’s more, it is one of the few water sports parks in the U.S. to be accessible by ADA standards. Kudos to the original planners for making this public attraction inclusive. Something for everyone from ankle waders to expert kayakers, the Park is truly multi-use.

It is located in Riverbottom Park, a branch of Montrose’s Clifford E. Baldridge Regional Park complex, which is accessible via Riverbottom Rd., right off South Townsend Ave.

The Park comprises six features with a gradient of 11 feet for .20 miles offering a relaxing run with rock obstacles. There is plenty of room to spread out on the water and share space. Spectators can utilize the rock terraces set up for safe viewing of the river’s action with one of the areas offering covered shade. Midday sun can be brutal, so protection is welcomed.

The Water Sports Park receives constant irrigation from the Uncompahgre River well into late summer, making for good surfing long after water levels have dropped on other venues. The area surrounding the Park is family-friendly with picnic and pavilions, frisbee golf, playgrounds, bathrooms, and even a skate park. Parking can be an issue if there’s an event but otherwise, pretty abundant especially if early morning is your preferred time to hit the water.

The Montrose Water Sports Park was designed and built with all citizens in mind.

Safety First, Know Before You Go!

The Uncompahgre is a naturally flowing river with cold water, obstacles, and changing currents and conditions. There are no lifeguards; you are responsible for yourself and the minors you bring to the Park. By using the Montrose Water Sports Park, a person assumes all inherent risks of water sports and activities.

Personal Responsibility

  • Understand the risks and know your limits.
  • Enjoy the Water Sports Park within your own ability.
  • Adults are responsible for the children they bring to the Park. Under adult supervision, help them enjoy the Water Sports Park within their abilities.

Proper Equipment

  • Proper fitting Personal Flotation Devices are strongly suggested.
  • Helmets and cold water gear are strongly suggested.
  • Make sure your equipment is adequate for river conditions.

Have a Plan

  • Be aware of hazards downstream.
  • Plan your float before you go.

Know the River

  • Pay attention-not all hazards are easily recognized.
  • Watch out for high water and strong currents
  • Cold water can be debilitating in less than two minutes.
  • Brush, fallen trees, bridge pilings and undercut rocks can pin boats agains obstacles. 

Be a Good Neighbor

  • Share the Park!  All users, boaters, anglers, tubers and rafters should respect each other. 
  • Keep the Park clean! Maintain your trash and minimize your impacts on wild areas in and around the Water Sports Park.
  • Minimize your impact!  Pets must be on a leash.

** Safety tips borrowed from the City of Montrose.  See the original document here 

Five Things To Do Between Ouray and Montrose

1.  Visit the Ute Indian Museum

The museum recently underwent a major renovation with a stunning building and exhibition connecting the past with contemporary Ute life and culture. This is a family-friendly side trip and just on the outskirts of Montrose.  Plenty of exhibitions that focus on the Ute peoples’ history in the area, the struggles with adapting to mining and education on Ute culture.  A perfect choice for before or after a day at the Water Sports Park.

2.  Tour the Ridgway Railroad Museum 

Ridgway, Colorado, long known as the birthplace of the Rio Grande Southern Railroad, is the home to a museum dedicated to the preservation of the history of railroading in Ouray County and surrounding areas. Recently, the museum has expanded to two locations; the museum building and the loop site where all the rolling stock resides.  There is plenty to see when visiting and lots to learn about the role of railroads in the development of Ouray County and the outlying area.  


3.  Visit Ouray County Ranch History Museum

Ouray County was developed in 1877 as the mining boom brought settlers to the area.  It wasn’t long after ranchers arrived to work the land and supply beef and agriculture to support the mines.  Ouray is a “right to ranch” county and still, today has many beef operations that supply our nation’s dinner tables.  The museum was started at the request of local ranch families as a way to preserve the heritage of the area. Located in downtown Ridgway the museum offers quite an educational experience along with many, many artifacts and relics. 

4.   Visit Ouray Hot Springs

The Ute Indians who settled the Uncompahgre Valley considered the mineral springs sacred healing, and other tribes traveled for days to visit the springs. In the 1870s, prospectors and miners moved into the San Juan Mountains and founded the City of Ouray in 1876. In 1881, after a series of failed treaties, the federal government removed the Ute tribe to a reservation in eastern Utah. With that move, the Utes lost their native lands, including the ceremonial hot springs that they called “Miracle Waters.”

5. Tour the Museum of the Mountain West

The Museum of the Mountain West is a history museum off U.S. Route 50 in Montrose, Colorado. It includes a collection of historic log cabins, Western town stores, and other historic buildings that have been moved to the site. The museum was listed on the Colorado state register of historic properties in 2018. The museum also owns a historic carriage shop, not on the same site, where eventual champion boxer Jack Dempsey trained. It is located at 68191 E. Miami Road, bordering on U.S. Route 50, 3.9 miles east of the center of downtown Montrose.

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