Montezuma County is the southwesternmost of the 64 counties in the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2010 census, the population was 25,535. The county seat is Cortez. Mesa Verde National Park, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, Yucca House National Monument, and Hovenweep National Monument preserve hundreds of ancient Amerindian structures, including the famous cliff-dwellings, found in the county. Montezuma County is also home to most of the Ute Mountain Indian Reservation, home of the Weeminuche Band of the Ute Nation, known as the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, with its headquarters at Towaoc.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,040 square miles (5,300 km²), of which 2,030 square miles (5,300 km²) is land and 11 square miles (28 km²) (0.5%) is water.
A large county, roughly 1/3 of its area is tribal land, 1/3 is federal land (administered by the National Park Service, the United States Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management), and 1/3 private or state/county land. It is also varied topographically, ranging in elevation from about 6,000 feet (1,800 m) to more than 13,200 feet (4,000 m), and from high Colorado Plateau desert to alpine tundra. The county has the second largest reservoir in Colorado, McPhee Reservoir, many other large reservoirs, and hundreds of private lakes and ponds. Much of the county is irrigated cropland, and it produces fruit, large numbers of cattle and sheep, and beans. It is served by U.S. Highways 160 and 491 (formerly US 666), and by Cortez Municipal Airport. It has no rail service, although both Mancos and Dolores were established as railroad towns in the 1890s.
As of the census of 2000, there were 23,830 people, 9,201 households, and 6,514 families residing in the county. The population density was 12 people per square mile (5/km²). There were 10,497 housing units at an average density of 5 per square mile (2/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 81.72% White, 0.14% Black or African American, 11.23% Native American, 0.20% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 4.26% from other races, and 2.38% from two or more races. 9.50% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 9,201 households out of which 33.30% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.40% were married couples living together, 10.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.20% were non-families. 24.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.54 and the average family size was 3.04.
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