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Monarch Pass, Monarch

Categories: Scenic Drives, Tourist Spots, Outdoor Activities
Inspirock Rating:
4.1/5 based on 40+ reviews on the web
Monarch Pass, elevation 11312ft, is a high mountain pass in the Rocky Mountains of south-central Colorado in the United States.Location and basic detailsThe pass is located on the Continental Divide at the southern end of the Sawatch Range along the border between Gunnison and Chaffee counties, approximately 25mi west of the town of Salida. The pass carries U.S. Highway 50 over the Sawatch Range, providing a route between Tomichi Creek in the upper basin of the Gunnison River on the west and the South Arkansas River, a tributary of the Arkansas River, on the east. The pass can be traversed by all vehicles under most conditions and is generally open year-round; however, 7% grades exist, and the area is prone to heavy winter snowfall, often resulting in temporary closures during severe winter storms. Ramps for runaway trucks are located about halfway down both the eastern and western sides of the pass.SceneryThe pass is widely considered one of the most scenic in Colorado, offering a panoramic view of the southern end of the Sawatch Range from the summit. A gift shop and small restaurant are located near the summit of the pass. During the summer, an aerial tram from the parking lot at the summit carries visitors to the top of Monarch Ridge above the pass (at approximately 12000ft above sea level), allowing a wider view of the surrounding peaks. During the winter, visitors enjoy skiing at Monarch ski area.
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  • We rode the Monarch Crest Scenic Tramway up the mountain. You arrive at an enclosed observation building that you can walk outside on to the small balcony. It was 45 degrees and the wind blowing 35-40...  read more »
  • Son and I stopped here and rode the tram up the mountain. Go from 11,000 to 12,000 feet and the views were incredible. You are supposed to be able to see Piles Peek from the top, but it wasn't clear d...  read more »
  • If you have already driven Cottonwood Pass, or you want to stay on paved roads, then drive Monarch Pass between Gunnison and Salida/Buena Vista. It gets you to over 11,000 feet, has very nice views an...  read more »
  • Great views from the observation area!
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