Traditionally, scaling a mountain requires determination, athleticism, and a willingness to bribe gravity. Escalate more easily with today’s Groupon: for $10, you get two tickets to the Monarch Crest Scenic Tramway, located 23 miles west of Salida (up to a $20 value). The aerial tram runs until September 15, subject to weather conditions.
Balanced on the apex of Monarch Pass, the Monarch Crest Scenic Tramway sweeps sightseers up to loftier heights along the crest of the Continental Divide. A string of six spherical gondolas serenely ascends to and docks at 12,012 feet above sea level, approximately 8 feet below sky level. A sweeping outdoor viewing area has views of the Rockies from Pikes Peak to Uncompahgre Peak of the San Juan Mountains, each fervently campaigning for presidential engravings. Focus eyeballs on vistas more than 100 miles away aided by stationary binoculars scattered throughout the observatory, or exercise unaided eyes on the sweeping pine forests of Monarch Crest.
While the roundtrip tram ride takes only 15 minutes, lingering visitors can soak up the sights from the observatory deck and pop into the gift shop at their leisure before gliding down in the tram or hiking back along a winding trail.