This posting is going to be more pictures than words. A couple of years ago (see the 2012 link above) I wrote several post about the area. To wind up our stay here, I am going to share some of our favorite sights.
Rivers, Lakes and Streams: The Arkansas River dominates the area as you might expect. It is famous for its wicked whitewater through the area. It begins as a small stream at the Continental Divide near Leadville and from there plunges almost 5,000 feet in its first 125 miles.
Mountains: The Sawatch Range which forms the western rim of the valley has the highest concentration of mountains over 14,000 feet in Colorado. Cutting across this range are three very high drivable passes. The Cottonwood and Independence and Monarch.
Cottonwood pass is the highest paved pass.
Independence is just a little shorter but is spectacular with tight hair pin curves and steep drop offs.
Monarch is on a major highway, the drive is beautiful, but not as dramatic as the other two.
Big Horn Sheep Canyon east of Salida is breath taking with steep uplifted walls of shear granite.
Glacial valleys and side canyons are traversed by tributary streams rushing down to meet the river. Out in the valley, huge boulders are strewn about the landscape like abandoned children’s toys.
Animals in the wilds