Mt. Princeton
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Bike Monarch Pass: 37 Miles Round trip From Poncha Springs to Monarch Pass
August 7, 2005
Mt. Aetna Cycling in central Colorado is never easy, but the rewards from mountain ascents like these are worth it. Today I biked Monarch Pass on the east side of the divide for the first time. I started in the Poncha Springs Visitor Center parking lot and the round trip was 37 miles. The adjacent photo was my first, the view of Mt. Aetna as I traveled west on Highway 50.
Chaffee County LEFT: I just love the Chaffee County slogan: Now this is Colorado! It's very fitting!

RIGHT: Hey! What's up with C-DOT calling me "heavy side road traffic?!" I've lost 20 pounds this year and my fat stomach is gone! Geez! :)

A few miles more into the canyon, I found this bend in the road scenic. The West Arkansas River runs through the canyon.
Garfield, CO

Monarch Lodge

I reached an area known as Garfield. There's a picturesque garage and the Monarch Ski Lodge. It looks like a very recreational area, and I just might return back soon to hike the Boss Lake Trail. The Monarch ski slopes are near the summit, and if you're looking for lodging, this might be a good place. Also, there is plenty of motels in Poncha Springs and Salida.

Continuing to bike uphill! ... Just look at these aspen groves! Wow! Now I *really* think I need to head back here in the fall! Some of my best aspen & fall foliage pictorails:
  • Wilkerson Pass Aspens
  • Fall Colors '04
  • Bonanza, CO
  • Cottonwood Pass
  • Autumn Pictures (2007-present)
  • To the south, note a mountain range ravaged from mining. It's kind of sad yet scenic in its own unique way. At this point, the uphill gets steep and I appreciated any scenery to keep your mind occupied. ;)

    Other pages in this particular area:

  • Bald Mountain & Banana Mountain
  • Waterdog Lakes
  • Old Monarch Pass
  • Monarch Pass
  • Maysville Schoolhouse
  • Monarch Mountain Ski Area At the Monarch Ski area, it's probably just another one mile up!
    Just up from the Monarch ski area, I turned back to get a view of the mountains looking downhill.

    Here are all of my photos of the Chaffee County region:

  • Mt. Princeton Hike, Biking in Buena Vista & Salida
  • St. Elmo, Buena Vista,
  • The summit has a gift shop & snack shop with restrooms. It was very helpful considering it began raining pretty hard for about 20 minutes when I arrived. ;)
    Sunflower Seeds

    To celebrate my arrival to the summit, I bought a package of sunflower seeds and ...

    Okay, okay, I got a little out of hand! :)

    My other Colorado cycling pages:

  • Cottonwood Pass
  • Independence Pass
  • Trout Creek Pass
  • Bike Across America Ride
  • I rode down very quickly and didn't stop to take photos, except for this one at the top. Oooooooooh! 10 miles at a 6% grade! Not bad!

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