|This article does not cite any references or sources. (October 2012)|
Sign at the summit
|Elevation||11,312 ft (3,448 m)|
|Traversed by||U.S. Highway 50|
|Location||Chaffee / Gunnison counties, Colorado, USA|
|Topo map||USGS Pahlone Peak|
Location and basic details 
The pass is located on the continental divide at the southern end of the Sawatch Range along the border between Gunnison and Chaffee counties, approximately 25 miles (40 km) west of the town of Salida. The pass carries U.S. Highway 50 over the Sawatch Range, providing a route between Tomichi Creek in the upper basin of the Gunnison River on the west and the South Arkansas River, a tributary of the Arkansas River on the east. The pass is traversable by all vehicles under most conditions and is generally open year-round; however, 7% grades exist. It is prone to heavy winter snowfall however, and is often temporarily closed in heavy winter storms. Ramps for runaway trucks are located about halfway down both the eastern and western sides of the pass.
The pass is widely considered one of the most scenic in Colorado, offering a panoramic view of the southern end of the Sawatch Range from the summit. A gift shop and small restaurant are located near the summit of the pass. During the summer, an aerial tram from the parking lot at the summit carries visitors to the top of Monarch Ridge above the pass (at approximately 12,000 feet (3,700 m) above sea level), allowing a wider view of the surrounding peaks. During the winter, visitors enjoy skiing at Monarch ski area.
Old Monarch Pass 
Old Monarch Pass connects to Monarch Pass at two points. Old Monarch Pass is traversable by passenger vehicles at most times during the summer and early fall months. However, heavy rainfalls occasionally wash out the east entrance to the pass. Check with a local ranger station for current conditions.
Weather station 
An automated weather station (AWOS), provided by the Federal Aviation Administration, is located atop Monarch Pass, broadcasting at 124.175 mHz, providing pilots of small aircraft access to real-time weather conditions near the summit. The high terrain and frequent storms, however, make this route problematic for light aircraft; the pass is steep and narrow, especially when approached from the east, with a sharp turn required at the summit. Aircraft accidents in the vicinity of Monarch pass are frequent. Many Colorado pilots suggest small aircraft avoid Monarch and, whenever possible, make use of the lower, flatter, Marshall Pass just a few miles to the south.