La Garita Natural Arch
La Garita Natural Arch
When I decided to make the trip to Penitente Canyon, I figured I'd see if I could find the Natural Arch in that area, too. I headed north on Colorado 112 out of Del Norte, figuring there'd be signs along the way. There were, but only for traffic coming from the north. And even then, once I got onto Forest Road 660 headed west, a couple miles in I came across a sign for the Arch but not at the road to the Arch. I might have missed something because my eyes were pretty intent on looking at the wild and woolly countryside. Anyway, FR 660 finally comes to Old Woman Canyon and turns south at a prominent intersection (Old Woman State Trust Lands is to the north of the intersection) and I was coming back into private property. So I turned around and went back the other way, looking a bit harder at all the side roads/trails.
I finally made a decision to turn at a road going north that looked like it had seen "reasonable" traffic. It curved and twisted and went up and down and deteriorated (if you can say that about a dirt road that hasn't been graded in many a year) but finally came to a dead-end just below the Arch. The weather was a bit wild with fast moving clouds and the odd bit of hail and sleet mixed with huge raindrops, so I took advantage of a gap between the blasts and climbed up the hill opposite the Arch to take a couple photos. Then I drove back out taking more photos of the countryside before heading over to Penitente Canyon.
To get to the Arch: Go north out of Monte Vista on Highway 285 for 18 miles to County Road G (there is a sign). Turn left and go west to the "Y" just past the La Garita Store. Take the dirt road (south) and follow the signs to the Natural Arch (turn west on FR 660 but the last turn is just west of FR 659, turn north on a road with a sign for La Garita Creek, which is not here).
A volcanic plug to the southeast of the arch
These are volcanic walls (dikes) to the south of the arch, the arch itself is in a dike wall
Basalt towers to the west of the arch
This basalt formation is east of the arch, at the edge of the Rio Grande National Forest
Rio Grande Club - Monte Vista Golf Club
Silver Thread Scenic Byway - Rio Grande National Forest
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Penitente Canyon - State Trustlands & Wildlife Areas
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