Some of the Sites Around the Upper Arkansas River Valley

 

Map of most of our travels through the valley

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.

Along Brown's Canyon

The River

Horses grazing along the river

Turquoise Lake

Looking down on beaver dams along the road to Independence Pass

A stream along Independence Pass road

Panning for gold

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.

Early September snow on the peak

Cottonwood pass is the highest paved pass.

Cottonwood pass

Independence is just a little shorter but is spectacular with tight hair pin curves and steep drop offs.

Looking out on rugged terrain near Independence Pass

Monarch is on a major highway, the drive is beautiful, but not as dramatic as the other two.

Monarch Pass Looking west over Gunnison Valley

Big Horn Sheep Canyon east of Salida is breath taking with steep uplifted walls of shear granite.

Big Horn Sheep Cannyon

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.

Giant Sentinels

Drive through Railroad tunnels blasted in the mountains

Animals in the wilds

Look close! Do you see two deer?

Least Chipmunk

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