Monarch Pass, CO

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Monarch Pass, September 2016

Monarch Pass, situated between Gunnison and Poncha Springs along Colorado’s Route 50, crosses the Continental Divide at 11,312 feet, offering spectacular vistas of central Colorado’s Sawatch Range, which boasts many of the state’s highest peaks. Including the Monarch Mountain ski area, the area around the pass is a launching-off point for skiers, hikers, and bikers, while the Monarch Pass Scenic Tram offers a lift for the less adventurous to the summit of Monarch Ridge. Heading east from the parking area, the Monarch Crest Trail extends for nearly 35 miles and is a local favorite among mountain bikers, while heading west on the Continental Divide Trail links Route 50 with Old Monarch Pass, another high, alpine gap. The visitor center and gift shop offers information, food, souvenirs, and an extensive book and map collection.

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Monarch Pass on the Continental Divide

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View of Monarch Ridge and Mount Ouray (13,971′) from the Continental Divide Trail

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Route 50 traces southward toward Gunnison, viewed from a viewpoint on Monarch Ridge

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Mount Aetna (13,745′) and Taylor Mountain (13,651′) from just north of Monarch Pass

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