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Monarch Pass, Monarch

(50+ reviews on the web)
Scenic Drive
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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  • The gift shop has a great selection of gifts, wildlife display, snacks, and clean restrooms but the best part is the gondola ride to the top of the mountain. $10 pp, $8 for 55+, and $6 for kids. The v...  more »
  • This drive is incredibly scenic. It had just snowed at least 14" and pushed hundreds of elk and deer down the mountain. Truly AWESOME to see that many elk and this part of Colorado.  more »
  • Amazing must see. There is no way, but with experience, to describe the beauty of these mountains. Make sure you have sufficient time to take the necessary side trips!  more »