When driving in the mountains, there are a lot of hazards. Weather and road conditions can change quickly, wildlife may be on the road or there could be rockfall onto the roadway. Be sure to drive the speed limit or slower on days when conditions warrant. For more safety tips, check out the Colorado Department of Transportation Safe Driving Tips Page.
Hydrate! Be sure to drink plenty of water. You are more active than you may realize and dehydrate quicker at higher altitudes. Drinking water is the best way to avoid altitude sickness, which can affect anyone at any age. This means drink water before you are thirsty. Limit the intake of caffeine and alcohol on your trip. A little goes a long way up here.
UV rays are intense at high altitude, especially when reflecting off snow. Be sure to wear sunscreen, even on a cloudy day, and always wear eye protection for the same reason. The appropriate sunglasses will protect your eyes and improve your line of sight.
You’ll be happier if you are dry. Waterproof and windproof jackets are highly recommended. Forgot yours? Top-of-the-line jackets are available for purchase at the Crest.
Remember, weather conditions can change throughout the day in the mountains. You’ll want to dress in layers. This will allow you to add or remove layers as the conditions change. Avoid cotton. It does not insulate well when it gets wet. It will just make you colder. Choose wool and synthetics, especially for base layers and socks. They will keep you warm and dry despite wet conditions.
If you are experiencing headache, dizziness, nausea, tiredness and/or shortness of breath it may be due to the high altitude. Take it easy and hydrate. It may be necessary for you to go to a lower elevation. The elevation at the Monarch Crest ranges from 11,312 feet at the pass all the way up to 12,012. Gunnison is at 7,703 and Salida is at 7,000′. If going lower does not help, seek medical attention.
Weather can change quickly at elevation in Colorado. With temperatures below freezing, be well prepared and stay warm. Frostnip or frostbite can occur, especially to fingers, nose, ears and toes, so don’t forget about these parts of your body. 30% of heat loss is from the head, so wear a hat. For cold related injuries, seek medical attention.
The Crest has numerous recreational opportunities. Hiking the CT or mountain biking the world-famous Crest Trail. If heading out on the trails here are a few tips. Ride or hike with a friend. Leave your planned outing and time of return with someone in town. Leave early and be down below tree line before the afternoon thunderstorms roll in. Pack extra food, water, and warm layers along with a waterproof jacket.
As a permittee on the San Isabel National Forest, Monarch works with the USFS to establish rules and guidelines for our permitted area based on a combination of operational, safety, and environmental concerns. Our operating plan defines these rules and guidelines. The plan also authorizes Monarch Mountain at the Crest to conduct activities and provide public services on National Forest System lands within the SUP boundaries in accordance with federal law, regulation, and USFS policy. Monarch Mountain at the Crest operates under a special use permit from the US Forest Service and is an Equal Opportunity Service Provider.
The personal use of drones is PROHIBITED within the Monarch Mountain at the Crest SUP. Monarch Mountain may use Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) in a limited capacity for Marketing and special events purposes.
Winter camping is ALLOWED within the Monarch Mountain at the Crest Special Use Permitted area. Camping by the public is allowed at Crest’s Parking area located within the Special Use Permitted area. Residing within the Crest’s permitted area is not allowed for employees or the public. Where not otherwise restricted, camping or leaving camping equipment at any location more than 14 days within a continuous 30-day period, and/or occupying any campsite within three (3) air miles of any prior camping or equipment location for a combined total of more than 28 days within any continuous 60-day period. 36 C.F.R. / 261.58 (a). There are also several camping options nearby including paid sites with hook-ups and free dispersed camping on BLM and USFS lands.
Monarch Mountain at the Crest has established a NO SMOKING POLICY in any area within 25’ of a doorway or outdoor F&B seating area.