Across the Divide on Colorado 105

Not far from the Interstate highway, south of Denver, are the communities of Sedalia, Palmer Lake and Monument Colorado.

For this excursion, I rode south from Denver on US-85 (Santa Fe Drive) to reach Colorado Highway 105 at Sedalia.


View in High Def

Highway 105 runs north & south along the Colorado Front Range between Sedalia and Monument, and crosses over the Palmer Divide.

The Palmer Divide is a ridge that juts perpendicular from the Colorado Front Range and stretches eastward as far as Limon. It separates the Missouri River drainage basing (which includes the Platte River) from the Arkansas River drainage basin. The weather along the divide can be dramatically different from the weather in Denver and Colorado Springs; you can depart Denver under sunny skys only to encounter rain and snow over the Palmer Divide.

About 37 million years ago, a volcanic eruption covered the area with a resistant rock called rhyolite (rye-uh-lite), but flooding and erosion of the rock has given way to castle-shaped buttes, hillsides covered with large meadows of grass, scattered juniper trees, Pine and Scrub Oak.

Here you are apt to encounter Badgers, Black Bears, Bobcats, Coyotes, Chipmunks, Foxes, Mountain Lions, Mule Deer, Porcupines, and Skunks. You might also spot an Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Magpies, Red-tailed Hawks, Jays and Western Tanagers (they are kind of shy and they love the scrub oak).

After the Civil War, General William Palmer founded the City of Colorado Springs and the Denver Rio Grande Railroad. He purchased land north of Colorado Springs called Monument Farms & the Lake Property to supply water for the railroad. The lake property became the town of Palmer Lake.

During the Chautauqua movement, a popular adult education movement in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Palmer Lake was host to many Chautauqua gatherings. Recently the town has brought new life to the popular program through the Rocky Mountain Chautauqua Assembly held in Palmer Lake each August.

Collectively, the towns of Palmer Lake, Monument and Woodmoor are known as the Tri-Lakes area. The area also includes the communities of Larkspur and Glendale. The US Air Force Academy is directly south of Monument.

Highway 105 turns eastward and terminates when it merges with Highway 83 east of Monument.

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