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Uncompahgre River Trail

2021 Starburst Award Winner

Starburst Awards recognize excellence in the use of Lottery funds for community and conservation projects. Winners are chosen based on the creativity of the project, economic and social impact on the community, and whether the project achieved its goal.

Project Summary

  • Designer: Del-Mont Consultants (Montrose, CO) with support from trail specialist Loris and Associates (Superior, CO)
  • Contractor: Western Gravel Constructors (Montrose, CO)
  • Final Construction Cost: $2.7M
  • Completed: August 2020


The City of Montrose, in a combined effort with the Montrose Recreation District, received a $2 million grant from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) for the Connect Initiative. The city used the grant to build a concrete trail for bikers and pedestrians that extends from the Community Recreation Center to the Colorado Outdoors project area along the Uncompahgre River. By way of two underpasses, the project eliminated the need for trail users to cross Townsend Avenue (U.S. Hwy 550) and Main Street (State Hwy 90).

The project, created with the intent of “Connecting People to their Parks and Recreation”, created bike/pedestrian underpasses at the U.S. Highway 90 bridge adjacent to the West Main Street Trailhead bridge and at the U.S. Highway 550 bridge at Dry Cedar Creek, just west of City Market. The city constructed a total of 2.25 miles of 10’ concrete trail under the grant, incorporating several miles of existing trails to dramatically improve public access to the community's primary parks and recreational facilities.  
The project aligned with community input received during the development of the city's Comprehensive Master Plan and the Uncompahgre Riverway Master Plan, which showed walking/biking trail development to be among the highest priorities for new community amenities. 


South End

The trail extends from the Montrose Community Recreation Center to the Woodgate Road roundabout, then behind the post office and City Market along the north side of the Dry Cedar Creek arroyo where it dips down under Highway 550 beneath the existing CDOT bridge. After emerging on the west side, the trail proceeds behind 4 Seasons Mall, crosses a 16-acre city parcel, then bends slightly to the north to tie in directly to the Uncompahgre River Trail just north of the pedestrian bridge in Riverbottom Park. 

North End

Approximately 1.5 miles of new trail connects to the River Trail at the West Main Trailhead and proceeds north along the river to the Montrose Urban Renewal Authority and Colorado Outdoors development. The trail features connections at the North Ninth Street roundabout and at the north end of Grand Avenue.  

Project Partnerships

The city budgeted $3.25 million for the project within its final 2019 budget, comprised of the $2 million GOCO grant reimbursement, $550,000 from the city, $355,000 invested by the Montrose Recreation District, and contributions from Montrose County, Montrose Urban Renewal Authority, Valley Food Partnership, Colorado Health Foundation, Montrose Community Foundation, Montrose Recreational Foundation, Black Hills Energy and the Gates Family Foundation. 

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