Our Trip to Paonia, Colorado
October 21-23, 2019
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In October 2019, we decided to take a 3-day trip to Paonia, one of Colorado's vineyard and winery areas. We had never been there before and Joe and Amanda had recommended it. On one of their road trips, they had stopped there for a day and saw the beautiful scenery and interesting wineries.

Paonia is directly West of Colorado Springs, but, due to the mountains, we had to take a roundabout, sometimes very curvy and steep route over mountain passes - 263 miles and driving time of 5 hrs. and 12 mins. without stopping, which, of course, we did quite a bit to take pictures. On the way out we took a northern route which took us over Monarch Pass (elevation 11,312 feet). Although, it was mostly clear and sunny on the way there, we were shocked to find the pass was very snowy, with steep, slippery road and fairly heavy traffic. Be sure to view the VIDEOS.

On the way to Paonia, we stopped to take pictures at the Blue Mesa Reservoir, Morrow Point Reservoir, and Crystal Reservoir in the Gunnison River in the Curecanti National Recreation Area.

While staying 3 nights in an AirBnB in Paonia, we enjoyed the quaint town, ate at local restaurants, drove around the area, took a guided tour of Solar Energy International, visited two local wineries for wine tastings, and viewed the spectacular scenery.

On our drive home, we decided to avoid the treacherous drive over Monarch Pass. So,we took a southern route using CO Rte. 114, which took us over North Cochetopa Pass, whose summit is "only" 10,135 feet. It added an additional hour of drive time, but was worth it for different scenery and a calmer drive.

Also, be sure to view the >>> 4 VIDEOS <<<


Click on an image to start a Slide Show with that image.
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Our route from our home in Colorado Springs to Paonia, Colorado.

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Heading up the eastern slope of Monarch Pass (summit elevation 11,312 feet)

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Summit of Monarch Pass (elevation 11,312 feet)

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We stop off of U.S. Rte. 50 at the eastern tip of Blue Mountain Reservoir on the Gunnison River to enjoy the scenery and take some pictures.

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A map showing the Curecanti National Recreation Area with Crystal Reservoir on the western end, Morrow Reservoir in the center, and Blue Mesa Reservoir on the eastern end in the Gunnison River.

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A panoramic view of the eastern tip of Blue Mountain Reservoir on the Gunnison River.

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Looking down at the Gunnison River.

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Panoramic view of the area off of CO Rte. 92 as we approach the town of Paonia.

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Spectacular Autumn colors just outside the town of Paonia, Colorado.

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Spectacular scenery and Autumn colors just outside the town of Paonia, Colorado.

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We arrive in Paonia and the main intersection in town looking East up 3rd Street at Grande Ave.

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Downtown Paonia and the main intersection in town looking South on Grande Ave. at 3rd Street.

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A mural painted on the side of a building in Paonia commemorating the Dominguez-Escalante Expedition: "On July 29, 1776, ten men set forth on an expedition from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to look for a route to Monterrey, California. Father Francisco Dominguez was leader of the expedition and Father Silvestre Escalante kept the diary. With Indian guides the expedition arrived near this spot on August 31, 1776."

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On one end of town: "Used Spaceships, Robot Orphans, Broken Ray Guns".

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An artistic and rustic bench on the sidewalk of Grand Ave. in downtown Paonia.

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We visit the headquarters of Solar Energy International, a global solar energy installation training facility located on the outskirts of Paonia.

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Various types of solar panels.

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We get a guided tour of the entire facility.

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A convenient Tesla car charger on the property available for free use by Tesla owners.

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We visit our first local winery, Stone Cottage Cellars, in the hills on the outskirts of Paonia.

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This is the cottage on the property of Stone Cottage Cellars which is available for short term rental.

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The vineyards of Stone Cottage Cellars.

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A panoramic view of the valley from the winery hills.

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Our second stop at another wine tasting at Azura Winery and Gallery.

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On our trip back home, in order to avoid what was a treacherous drive over Monarch Pass, we decided to take a southern route using CO Rte. 114, which took us over North Cochetopa Pass, whose summit is "only" 10,135 feet. It added an additional hour of drive time, but was worth it for different scenery and a calmer drive.

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For more information email: JoeR@LucianoFamily.net
Our Web Site: www.LucianoFamily.net