Rain and Fog and Cold on Monarch pass - 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.