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Monarch Pass, Monarch

4.3
#23 of 26 in Scenic Drive in Colorado
Scenic Drive Tourist Spot
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. Monarch Mountain Lodge is located about 5 miles from 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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59 reviews
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  • You simply must stop in here after making the climb up the mountain. We were traveling across Colorado in our motor home and decided to take US 50 instead of I-70 and we are sure glad we did. The view...  more »
  • What a beautiful view, not the highest pass in Colorado but beautiful none the less. I was surprised by how nice the gift shop/restaurant/bathrooms were here. I actually bought a kachina doll here (it...  more »
  • We missed a stop at Monarch Pass on our way through last year, so it was on our list for our Salida trip this year. My parents loved the gondola ride, and my daughter and I enjoyed our trek towards th...  more »

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