Every time my husband and I drive to a new area in Colorado we are amazed by the scenery and topography of our state. Our trip to a house we rented, along with our daughter and her family, in South West Colorado was no exception! We drove west, from our town of Littleton, on Colorado 470, to US 285. I've blogged often about traveling on US 285 over Kenosha Pass to South Park, as this is one of the prettiest places in Colorado. (All photos and collages in this post will enlarge for easier viewing if clicked on.)
South Park is a large grassland basin, at 10,000 foot elevation, rimmed by the Rocky Mountain Mosquito and Park Mountain Ranges. It is populated by many scenic ranches and the town of Fairplay. Although we were taking this trip during Thanksgiving week in November, you can see there was already significant snow on the high, surrounding peaks.
We continued on US 285 towards the Sawatch Mountain Range near Buena Vista, Colorado.
When we entered the Buena Vista area, we had a view of Mt. Princeton. Mt. Princeton is 14,204 feet high mountain, and is part of the Collegiate Peaks of the Sawatch Range of the Rocky Mountains. The Sawatch Mountain Range contains eight of the twenty highest peaks in the Rocky Mountains, including Mt. Elbert, which is the highest mountain of the Rocky Mountain Range in North America, at an elevation of 14,440 feet.
We soon traveled west onto US 50, and traveled over the Continental Divide over Monarch Pass. This pass is considered one of the most scenic in Colorado, with beautiful views of the Sawatch Range. It also contains the Monarch Ski Area.
The topography here became "otherworldly."
The erosion of millennium on these ancient hills, buttes, mesas and mountains reveled their "bones."
All I could think of, as we drove past views like this, was this area is a geologist's dream....
....as well as a photographer's.
We passed the craggy, tall Dillon Pinnacles of the Curecanti National Recreation Area.....
...and the Blue Mesa Reservoir, which is the largest body of water entirely in Colorado.
At 7,519 feet, it is 20 miles long, and has 96 miles of shoreline. The Blue Mesa Reservoir is the largest lake trout and Kokanee salmon fishery in Colorado.
We also passed the north rim of the amazing Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, which I will blog about on a future post.
As we drove towards the city of Montrose, I continued to see the most beautiful and unusual scenery. I felt like all the castles in Europe could not compare to these natural "castles" made by time.
The hills were dark examples of volcanic remains of Precambrian era gneiss and schist.
The house we rented for the week here had a beautiful large deck that offered us a panoramic views of the San Juan Mountains. It was the also the vantage point from where we took day trips to the towns of Ouray and Telluride, and a drive along the Million Dollar Highway--all of which I will blog about in future posts.
I hope you enjoyed coming along on our drive to SW Colorado and enjoyed the wondrous and incredible scenery we passed along the way. Return soon to see more of our visit this fabulous part of Colorado!
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