Colorado is full of history, and digging into the past of the Centennial State can be fascinating, to say the least.

One of the most prominent stretches of highway in Colorado is undoubtedly Vail Pass. This portion of I-70 takes motorists over the Continental Divide with the absolutely gorgeous mountain scenery that Colorado is best known for.

Read More: Colorado’s Old Monarch Pass is Not for the Faint of Heart |

However, if you're familiar with the deeper points of Colorado's history, you may know that Vail Pass was almost located in a very different part of the state.

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Colorado's Monarch Pass Was Almost Named Vail Pass

Back in 1938, a man by the name of Charles Vail was the head of the state's Department of Highways and oversaw the construction of a mountain pass that would cross the Continental Divide between the towns of Salida and Gunnison.

Today, this is the mountain route we know as Monarch Pass, but there was a time when Monarch was set to be the namesake of Charles Vail. However, residents of the area at the time objected to calling the new stretch of highway Vail Pass, as originally planned.

In response, Colorado's Governor at the time, Ralph Carr, named the mountain pass Monarch, a name that has obviously stuck until this day.

Of course, Charles Vail would eventually get his namesake mountain pass and, in what some may consider an ironic twist, Colorado's Vail Pass is much more well-known and experiences much more traffic than Monarch.

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