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Old 06-22-2015, 07:59 PM   #1
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Help with Colorado roads

I am planning on using highway 50 from Salida Colorado, over Monarch Pass, and on to Gunnison. Is anyone familiar with this road? After going from Ouray to Durango once I always ask in advance! Thanks.
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Old 06-22-2015, 08:04 PM   #2
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Compared to the road from Ouray to Durango Monarch pass is a walk in the park.


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Old 06-22-2015, 08:30 PM   #3
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If you simply Google Monarch Pass in Colorado, you'll learn a lot. It does have a reputation of many accidents, due to sharp switchbacks and reckless, speeding drivers.
I agree with your fear of red mountain, coal creek pass, molas pass, (and don't forget the winding, twisting switchbacks), which when all are put together, are a nightmare of a drive, especially horrid if towing a trailer, even in dry pavement weather. If encountered during rain, or worse, snow....say your prayers!
The best advice I can offer for any of the high mountain regions....first and foremost, your equipment must be well maintained. You must be very well rested and alert, drive carefully and pay close attention to other drivers,who may not be paying attention, or who are in too big of a hurry! Enjoy the journey and be safe!
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Old 06-22-2015, 08:53 PM   #4
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Compared to the road from Ouray to Durango Monarch pass is a walk in the park.


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I totally agree!
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Old 06-22-2015, 09:04 PM   #5
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Maybe I've lived here too long - but these roads are well maintained and I've never encountered what was mentioned above - yes there are steep drop offs that require attention and you want to make sure you have a vehicle strong enough to pull long grades - 18 wheelers travel these roads all the time - use your engine to hold you back going down steep grades - take it easy as you would on any windy roads


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Old 06-22-2015, 09:24 PM   #6
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It beats Wolf Creek Pass. By which I mean it is less stressful / easier driving.
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Old 06-22-2015, 09:49 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by mhilley View Post
I am planning on using highway 50 from Salida Colorado, over Monarch Pass, and on to Gunnison. Is anyone familiar with this road? After going from Ouray to Durango once I always ask in advance! Thanks.
It's a much more pleasant drive than I-95 through South Florida!
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Old 06-22-2015, 09:57 PM   #8
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Piece o Cake. Enjoy the ride...
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Old 06-23-2015, 07:46 AM   #9
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I honestly do not know what all the bruha is about with driving the Colorado mountain roads. Biggest issue is tow vehicle torque and summer time engine cooling capacity, if it is marginal on the flat lands then it is not the best choice for here. Colorado has a law that if you have more then 5 cars behind you as you crawl over the pass in first gear you have to pull over and let them by. If the road is paved then you can haul your trailer on it.
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Old 06-23-2015, 08:47 AM   #10
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Piece o Cake. Enjoy the ride...
Yes indeed.
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Old 06-23-2015, 09:47 AM   #11
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Monarch Pass is a walk in the park.
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Old 06-23-2015, 12:31 PM   #12
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If you ever need to get to the Durango side of the mountains, use Lizard Head Pass to Cortez. I frequently visit family in western Colorado. I have towed over this pass with no difficulty. I have driven Ouray to Durango, but would not tow over it. Monarch is no problem IMHO.
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Old 06-23-2015, 01:10 PM   #13
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One of the most trailer friendly passes in the state.. All above cover it well and like any pass,, caution and reading the road is always important.

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Old 06-23-2015, 01:20 PM   #14
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As others have mentioned, Monarch Pass is much easier than Red Mountain Pass. It does feel steep when heading down the west side of the pass towards Gunnison but as long as you take it slow, it is not a difficult drive in good weather. There are a few places with drop-offs when heading east but it is nothing like the Red Mountain Pass drop-offs and the road is not nearly as curvy.
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