Hotchkiss is a town in the Northwestern part of the Rocky Mountains state of Colorado. It is also a part of the West Elks American Viticultural Area (AVA), part of Colorado's Wine Country and home to the highest wine vineyards in North America.
The Uncompahgre Valley was the ancestral home of the Ute nation. But in the late 1870s, the lure of the gold and silver deposits in the San Juan Mountains to the south proved too great for the white settler population to resist. Tensions boiled over with the Meeker Massacre in 1879. Pushed to the breaking point by the Federal government's insistence that they give up their nomadic way of life and become farmers, the Utes killed several whites and launched the so-called Ute War. Initially successful, the Utes were forcibly relocated to Utah, and Southwestern Colorado, near Cortez.
Less than a year after the Meeker Massacre, the first prospective settlers ventured into the North Fork area. They were a small group of mineral speculators from the mining town of Lake City. Led by Enos Throop Hotchkiss, who had made his money by discovering the Golden Fleece mine at Lake City, Hotchkiss's party surreptitiously scouted the valley and picked out likely homesteads while the Utes were still in possession.
Hotchkiss died in 1900, just a few months before the town was officially incorporated.
Hotchkiss built its economy on land development, coal, orchards and ranching. The coal is still mined today, a hard anthracite, "clean burning" coal much in demand for power plants around the country.
A sleepy town with a classic "Main Street" row of 19th and early 20th century storefronts, Hotchkiss is a rich agricultural area located in the foothills of the Grand Mesa. The rich soil is perfect for growing peaches, apples, cherries, as well as grapes.
By the late 20th century, grape growers had discovered the area's potential for raising white wine varietals, and Colorado's wine industry migrated south from Grand Junction and Palisade. The West Elks American Viticultural Area was formed in 2001. Ranging from 5,400 feet (1646 m) to 6,400 feet (1951 m) above sea level, West Elks comprises the highest vineyards in North America.
Hotchkiss is home to the Delta County Fair, a rodeo and festival held every August.
The town is just 9 mi (14 km) away from the small town of Paonia, which hosts the Cherry Days Festival every July.
- Montrose Regional Airport (IATA: MTJ), 2100 Airport Road, Phone: +1 970-249-3203, Fax: +1 970-249-2808 Regional service from Denver. Used most heavily during ski season. Cafe, vending, restrooms, car rentals.
There are also airports in Denver and Grand Junction.
- Denver International Airport, (IATA: DEN). Commonly referred to as DIA. It is located about 20 miles to the east of downtown. Frontier Airlines, United Airlines, and Southwest Airlines all maintain hubs at the airport in Concourses A, B, and C respectively. Most other major domestic carriers also have service here.
- Grand Junction Regional Airport, (IATA: GJT), otherwise known as Walker Field, is served by six airlines with nonstop service to Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, and Las Vegas. Some service is seasonal.
From Grand Junction, follow US 50 for 38 mi (61 km) south. Turn left at US 92 and continue for 20 mi (32 km).
From Glenwood Springs, follow US 82 for 11 mi (18 km), then turn right at US 133. Follow for 67 mi (108 km).
Amtrak serves nearby Glenwood Springs and Grand Junction with the California Zephyr, which runs daily between Emeryville (in the San Francisco Bay Area) and Chicago. For more information, see rail travel in the US.
But once at the rail station, you will still have to rent a car.
- Advantage Rent-A-Car, 2828 Walker Field Dr Grand Junction, ☎ +1 970-243-4469.
- Alamo Rent-A-Car, 2828 Walker Field Dr Grand Junction, ☎ +1 970-243-3097.
- Avis Rent-A-Car, 2828 Walker Field Dr Grand Junction, ☎ +1 970-244-9170.
- Enterprise Rent-A-Car, 176 West 6th St Glenwood Springs, ☎ +1 970-945-8360.
- Thrifty Car Rental, 175 Storm King Rd Glenwood Springs, ☎ +1 970-928-8173.
Downtown Hotchkiss is divided into East and West Bridge Street in the middle of town (at 1st Street). Bridge Street is also US 92 running east-west through town. The main drag is easily navigated by foot. But to see the surrounding area, you will need a car or bike.
- Creamery Arts Center, 165 Bridge St, ☎ +1 970-872-4848, toll-free: +1-866-821-ARTS (2787). Located in a restored creamery, features work of local artists
- Hotchkiss Crawford Historical Society and Museum, 350 Elm Ave, ☎ +1 970-872-3780. Features a pioneer saddles, clothes as well as a chuck wagon from the first settlers of the Gunnison River's North Fork Valley.
- Hotchkiss National Fish Hatchery, 8342 Hatchery Rd (About 20 mi east of Delta), ☎ +1 970-872-3170, e-mail: email@example.com. Raises the stock fish for the lakes and streams of New Mexico and Colorado. Small visitor center and tank room, residences, 32 outdoor concrete raceways, 24 nursery tanks, and 6 earthen ponds.
- Delta, Montrose, Paonia & Hotchkiss - Follow US 92 west along the Gunnison River. Turn north on US 65 and stop at the wineries along Surface Creek, on the south slope of Grand Mesa, the largest flattop mountain in the world. Or, travel along the North Fork of the Gunnison River on US 92 east out of Delta and then US 133. This will take you to Hotchkiss and Paonia, where you will find yourself in the West Elks AVA.
- Grand Mesa National Scenic and Historic Byway. Road traversing the world's largest flattop mountain. Begins at Cedaredge Pioneer Town Museum Welcome Center on US 65 off US 92. The Land O'Lakes Visitor Center, Land's End, and Plateau Valley Area offer fishing, hiking, horseback riding, wildlife viewing, photography and amazing views.
- Tabeguache Trail, ☎ +1 970-244-3000. Trail crosses public land for 142 miles connecting Montrose and Grand Junction, Colorado. The Tabeguache Trail begins in Shavano Valley and weaves through the canyons, mesas and highlands of the Uncompahgre Plateau before ending in "No Thoroughfare Canyon," a few miles west of Grand Junction.
- Crawford Reservoir, toll-free: +1-800-678-CAMP (2267), e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Created by Crawford Dam which crosses Iron Creek, a tributary of the Smith Fork of the Gunnison River. Fishing, boating, waterskiing, sailboarding, and swimming.
- Paonia State Park, ☎ +1 970-921-5721. 24 hours. Scenery, water-skiing, wildflowers and camping, all in view of the Ragged Mountains
The West Elks AVA is home to many fine wineries in Colorado's Wine Country. Spend an afternoon tasting and buying local wines.
Festivals & Events
- February - Annual Mardi Gras in Paonia, Delta Home and Garden Show, Hotchkiss Antique & Collectible Show
- March - Eckert Crane Days
- May - Hotchkiss Annual Sheep Camp Stock Dog Trials, Annual Art Competition and Community Garage Sales, Annual River Awareness Float Trip, Hotchkiss Lions Club Annual Car Show
- June - North Fork Art Exhibit & Wine Tasting, Crawford Pioneer Days, Mountain Vineyard Wine Festival
- July - Paonia Cherry Days, Dreamtime Festival, Deltarado Days
- August - Delta County Fair
- September - Delta Uncompahgre Blues Festival, Mountain Harvest Festival, Render the Rock Art Festival, Colorado Grand Car Show, Council Tree Pow Wow
- October - Apple Fest in Cedaredge
- November - Memorial Hall Fundraiser Arts & Crafts Fair, Downtown Snowflake Sale
Bridge Street is antique row in downtown Hotchkiss.
- Olde Town Hall Antiques, 204 E Bridge St, ☎ +1 970-872-3500.
- Hotchkiss Trading Company, 215 E Bridge St, ☎ +1 970-872-2121.
- Golden Memories Antiques, 253 W Bridge St, ☎ +1 970-872-3800.
- Ark II, 101 Bridge St, ☎ +1 970-872-2226.
- Homestead Furniture, 122 E Bridge, ☎ +1 970-872-4363.
- Beulah B's, 35305 Hwy 133, ☎ +1 970-872-3051.
- Treasure House, E Bridge St, ☎ +1 970-872-3633.
- Bread Basket Bakery & Cafe, Hwy 133, ☎ +1 970-872-3132. 6AM - 2PM Tues - Sun.
- Coal Train Coffee House, 330 W. Bridge St #101, ☎ +1 970-872-5282. Organic and fair trade coffees, fresh roasted. Pleasant atmosphere -- red French doors wine-barrel flower pots and outdoor cafe tables.
- Eleni's Downtown, 365 East Bridge St, ☎ +1 970-872-3532. 11AM - 9PM, Mon - Sat.
- North Fork Valley Restaurant, 140 West Bridge St, ☎ +1 970-872-4215. 11AM - 9PM Mon-Sat. Family restaurant serving American food
- Roberts Short Stop, 180 West Bridge St, ☎ +1 970-872-4211. 5AM-10:30PM Sun-Th. Pizza, subs and salads
- Zack's Bar-B-Q, 721 East Bridge St, ☎ +1 970-872-3199. 6:30AM - 9PM Mon-Sat, 6:30AM - 8PM Sun. Family barbecue joint
- Past Times Friendly Tavern, 170 E Bridge St, ☎ +1 970-872-4301.
- West Elk Inn, 221 East Bridge St, ☎ +1 970-872-3844. 7 Days a Week. Restaurant & bar.
- North Fork Motel, 92 Hwy 133, ☎ +1 970-872-2137, toll-free: +1-866-829-8889. Newly remodeled rooms.
- Hotchkiss Inn, 406 Highway 133, ☎ +1 970-872-2200, toll-free: +1-800-817-1418. Some Pet rooms for a $10 fee, cable TV, central location
- Above the Law Guest Condo & Spa, 301 West Bridge St, ☎ +1 970-872-3126, e-mail: email@example.com. Flex 2 bedroom apartment with livingroom, jacuzzi, bathroom, cable.
- Atha's Place on Orchard Street, 336 Orchard St, ☎ +1 970-945-4004. Fully furnished 3 bed room home with TV, reading room, 2 1/2 baths.
- Casa Encantada B&B, ☎ +1 970-835-3658, toll-free: +1-800-635-0096, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Rivendell Retreat, 30048 North Rd, ☎ +1 970-872-4505, e-mail: email@example.com. Meditation retreat and artist's colony named after Tolkien’s "Lord of the Rings" Surrounded by forests, streams and wildlife.
- Gunnison River Farms, ☎ +1 970-835-3962, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Rustic cabins and fisherman's retreat that border 5 miles of the Gunnison River and towering cliffs. 7 acres of trout ponds, 8 acres of bass ponds, a sporting clay course, and 1,000 acres for wing shooting
- Leroux Creek Inn & Vineyards, 12388 3100 Rd, ☎ +1 970-872-4746. Adobe-style inn offers peace and seclusion in the middle of 47 acres of private land. Views of the surrounding vineyard, West Elk mountains, canyons and mesas. Continental breakfast prepared with fresh fruit from the organic farms of Delta County. Restaurant serves classic French cuisine made with local ingredients. Southwestern-style rooms.
- Delta County Fairgrounds, Downtown, ☎ +1 970-234-3971. Electrical and water hookups at 7 sites for RV campers. No dumping. Showers Apr. - mid- November. 7 day maximum stay.
- Gunnison River Pleasure Park, 8949 Pleasure Park Rd, ☎ +1-872-2525, toll-free: +1-888-782-75424, e-mail: CarolineJago2525@aol.com. 200 sites. No RV hook ups, jet boat trips, guided fishing trips, rafting
- Mountain Valley Meadows RV Park, 35145 Hwy 133 (Just off US 133), ☎ +1 970-872-2351, toll-free: +1-800-782-4037, e-mail: email@example.com. Electric hook ups for RVs
- Rogers Mesa Food Store/RV Park, 32345 Highway 92 (On Rogers Mesa west of Hotchkiss), ☎ +1 970-872-2262. 10-unit RV park, electrical hookups, propane.
- Scenic Mesa Ranch, 7179 Scenic Mesa Rd, ☎ +1 970-872-3078. 3 primitive cabins, 2 house settings, can cater to large groups.
Most hotels and coffee shops throughout the region offer wireless Wi-Fi access. But if you don't have a computer, try the public libraries.
- Hotchkiss Public Library, 1st and Main St, ☎ +1 970-872-4153.
- Glenwood Hot Springs Pool. A huge hot spring pool that is the signature attraction of Glenwood Springs.
- Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park - A deep, narrow gorge.
- Curecanti National Recreation Area - The visitor center is located off US 50 on the access road to Morrow Point Dam.
- Uncompahgre National Forest - Over a million acres comprise some of the most spectacular views in the Rockies.