Introduction to Cortez, Colorado

Located in Montezuma county, the city of Cortez, Colorado, is 178 miles NW of Rio Rancho, New Mexico (center to center) and 190 miles NW of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Cortez History

On December 25th, 1886 when logger Mat Hammod settled in the area which would later become the city of Cortez. The area was mainly utilized in providing shelter to the men employed for building of tunnels, irrigation facilities, and laterals for the diversion of water from the Dolores river into the Montezuma valley. The population of Cortez grew steadily when it was discovered that the Montezuma Valley was home to fertile land that could be used to produce abundant crops. The city derived its name from either Hernan Cortes or Fernando Cortez, the Spanish conquistadors.

Cortez and nearby Attractions

  • Cortez Cultural Center
  • Yucca House National Monument
  • Mancos State Park
  • Mcphee Lake
  • Mesa Verde National Park

Things To Do In Cortez

Cortez offers a large number of activities. A visit to the Cortez Cultural Center introduces visitors to the artifacts of the early days of Cortez, as well as the art of local and regional artists, in addition to being a famous archaeological site. The Crow Canyon Archaeological Center preserves the history of ancestral Pueblo Indians, as well as the Anasazi who lived there 700 years ago. The local park is Mancos State park, which has a separate play space for very young children. The park is surrounded by the San Juan mountain range.

Cortez Transportation

The closest airport to Cortez is the Albuquerque International Airport.

Cortez Higher Education

Some of the colleges in the area are San Juan College, the Fort Lewis College, the Mesa State college, and Western State college.


Total Population 8,571
Male Share of the Population 49.4%
Female Share of the Population 50.6%
Senior Citizens 18.8%
Employed Population 16+ 3,634
Age of the Population 38


% of people married 44.5%
Average household size 2

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 24.6%
Median Earnings25+ $30,078
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $25,815
Median Earnings With High School Degree $25,408


Median Family Income $48,177
% Above Poverty Level 79.2%
% Below Poverty Level 20.8%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 17 minutes
% Working from Home 4.7%
% Walking and Biking to Work 6.2%
% Using Public Transportation %


People Living Alone 31.9%
Median Gross Rent $751
Median House Value $152,400


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 37%
US/American 0%
English 10%
Irish 12.3%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Cortez Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Medium City 178 miles NW of Rio Rancho, New Mexico (center to center)
Nearest Large City 190 miles NW of Albuquerque, New Mexico
County Montezuma
Standard Zip Codes 81321
Phone Area Codes 970
Time Zone Mountain (-7 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 37.348
Longitude -108.585

Cortez Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Station CORTEZ
Distance 0.8 miles
Jan Temp 12 to 41 F
Apr Temp 29 to 62 F
Jul Temp 53 to 88 F
Oct Temp 33 to 67 F
Annual Precip 13.2 inches
Distance 11.7 miles
Jan Temp 17 to 38 F
Apr Temp 32 to 57 F
Jul Temp 56 to 84 F
Oct Temp 37 to 62 F
Annual Precip 18.4 inches
Distance 38.4 miles
Jan Temp 17 to 44 F
Apr Temp 34 to 71 F
Jul Temp 58 to 95 F
Oct Temp 36 to 73 F
Annual Precip 7.6 inches

Neighborhood and Nearby Area Names

According to the US Postal Service, Cortez, its neighborhoods, and/or surrounding areas are also referred to as:

Arriola (81321)

Hovenweep National Monument (81321)

Note that not all alternate names are acceptable for use in US Post Office addresses.

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Dolores 1,048 $64,615
Mancos 1,727 $36,364

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Cortez Public Libraries

Cortez Public Library
202 N. PARK
Cortez, Colorado
(970) 565-8117

library logo

More Information for Librarians

Cortez Hospitals

(Voluntary non-profit - Private)
(970) 565-6666
Emergency Service: Yes

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Cortez High Schools

(Sorted by Number of Students)

Serves 889 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 14.7

A Non-traditional School
A Charter School.
Title I eligible, not participating.
Serves 158 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 15.8

Study Online in Cortez
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