Traveling for 22.7 miles east on highway US50 from Monarch Mountain at the Crest will bring you to the seat of Chaffee County, the beautiful and charming town of Salida. Known as the “Heart of the Rockies,” Salida boasts endless natural adventures as well as a thriving art culture and excellent restaurants. The Arkansas River runs right through downtown Salida offering world-class rafting, kayaking, exciting stand-up paddle boarding and fishing. At 7,083’ of elevation, Salida is home to just under 6,000 residents who enjoy, along with the many visitors to the area, year-round outdoor recreation.
Between Monarch Mountain at the Crest and Salida are the smaller towns (from west to east) of Garfield, Maysville and Poncha Springs. The Salida Visitor Center is on the NW corner of US50 and US285 in Poncha Springs – the “Crossroads of the Rockies.”
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Going west on highway US50 from Monarch Mountain at the Crest for 41.8 miles brings you to the town of Gunnison in, of course, Gunnison County. Another one of the area’s attractive and delightful towns, Gunnison is a vibrant community surrounded by over 2 million acres of public land – a wonderer’s dream. At 7,003’ in elevation, just under 7,000 people reside in the town of Gunnison, including many of those who attend Western State Colorado University and those who take advantage of the abundance of recreational opportunities. The location of Gunnison gives it the perfect, home-base access to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Curecanti National Recreation Area and Blue Mesa Reservoir.
Between Monarch Mountain at the Crest and Gunnison are the smaller towns of (from west to east) Sargents and Parlin. The Gunnison Country Visitor Center is located on the N side of US50 just as you come into Gunnison from the east.
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