Day 17—3 Jun - Friday
We were on the road by 9:15 facing a trip of 121 miles over one major and one minor pass. Our objective for the day was Diamond RV Park in Woodland Park, Colorado.
Sargents is near the foot of Monarch Pass; on US Highway 50, Monarch is one of the major passes (11,312 ft) that cross the continental divide. The climb up the west side is gradual compared to the descent on the east side (6%) grade.
Monarch Mountain is a recreation area with a major ski resort; at the top of the pass there is also a tram that takes riders to the top of the mountain for the view.
There is an old mine about half way down the east side of the pass. No longer operating, it provided the US needs for molybdenum during World War Two. Now the major molybdenum mine is located at Climax, near Leadville, Colorado.
We transitioned from US 50 east bound to US 285 north bound at Poncha Junction near Salida. We follow US 285 north along the Arkansas River, then turn eastward at Buena Vista junction with US 24 and climb Trout Creek Pass.
The west slope of Trout Creek Pass is a gradual climb to the top at an elevation of 9346 feet. When it tops out, the highway is oriented northeast and makes a short descent into South Park, a high altitude basin.
We encountered two major construction delays as we climbed Trout Creek Pass that lasted about an hour waiting. We turned east on US 24 at Antero Junction at the foot of Trout Creek Pass. US 24 takes us east to Woodland Park where we turn north on SR 67 to reach our destination at 12:15 pm.
We’ve stayed in Woodland Park twice before; then we stayed at the Bristle Cone Lodge and RV Park. Though adequate, it was cramped with difficult access to the camp sites. During our last visit, we learned of the Diamond RV Park and decided to give it a try this year.
We checked in and setup in a nice long site with plenty of space between sites. The disadvantage to the site was a steep decline at the end where we had to park the truck.
We’re staying three nights. Our main interest during the stop is the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center near Divide, Colorado.