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Monarch Crest

Average Rating:    (4.7 of 5)

No. of Reviews: 44

The section of the Continental Divide Trail that travels south from Monarch Pass is known as the Monarch Crest Trail or Crest Trail. It begins at 11,312 foot Monarch Pass and climbs to around 12,000 before dropping back down to 10,800 foot Marshall Pass. This ride is most often done as a shuttle, and there are more than half a dozen options for riding back down to Salida. It is not a downhill ride, however. The high elevation and rugged terrain make for a difficult, challenging ride. Start early to avoid getting caught in a high mountain thunder storm. Only snow-free from July-September most years. Maps, food, and full-service bike shops are available in Salida.
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Latitude
38.47778207104823
Longitude
-106.3176155090332
Trail Directions
HI-WAY 50 TO THE TOP OF MONARCH PASS PARK BY TRAMWAY
Trail Length
20+
Trail Level
Intermediate
Trail Type
Singletrack
City/County
Poncho Springs
State/Territory/Province
CO
Web Address
   


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Reviews 1 - 5 (44 Reviews Total) View All | Next 5

Review Date
September 2, 2012

Overall Rating
 5 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 5 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 3 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Once a year

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Reviewed by: Johhnny CO ,  Cross Country Rider

Summary:
Beware: This ride is FantastiC!! Dont be fooled by others. Ups and Downs and everything in between. Be ready for the long haul Some nice variations to do(Agate, S.Foose, Rainbow, Marshal Pass rd., ect) Camp at Old Monarch Pass if you desire to stay up high.

Recommended Route:
Crest>Silver Creek>Rainbow

Other recommended trails in the same area:
CT, Princeton hotspring to Cottonwood hotspring
North Backbone, "S" mountain trails



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Review Date
July 6, 2012

Overall Rating
 2 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 3 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 2 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

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Reviewed by: Inuitbiker ,  Downhiller

Summary:
This review is for the classic crest ride from Monarch pass to Marshall Pass then to Silver Creek Trail to Rainbow Trail to town. It was not as epic as I expected. The ride had a lot of uphills and boring sections. Don't get me wrong, there were some short but fun downhill sections and very pumpable single track. I was expecting more downhills. The ride was very low in the technical aspect, which is good for beginners. There were a lot more fire roads than expected. The scenery and altitude is nothing special unless you are from somewhere flat. However, it is nice to not see or hear an interstate. Silver and Rainbow were the fun part of this ride. They definitely better when wet or packed down. Perhaps, dropping Fooses would have been better (looked down the start of Fooses- steep and fun) but it would make the ride shorter. The moto riders in the area were pretty cool and friendly.

Recommended Route:
Shuttle/Ride to Marshall Pass to CT to Silver Creek Trail to Rainbow to town

or

Shuttle/Ride to Monarch Pass Parking lot to FR906 (Access rd under gondi) to Crest Trail to Fooses to Hwy to town



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Review Date
August 2, 2011

Overall Rating
 5 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 4 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 3 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

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Reviewed by: Blake ,  Cross Country Rider

Summary:
I totally enjoyed the ride today. 35 miles of fun ridable single track. We caught a shuttle to the top of Monarch pass from High Valley Bike Shuttle in Poncha Springs. While we opted to rent a GPS, I would have gotten the map if I were to do it over again. Terrain ranged from alpine meadow, high desert, aspen forests and mountain pine. While a very challenging ride, it was all ridable for an above cross country rider from Wisconsin. It took us about 5 hrs.

After the ride we enjoyed huge sandwiches and micro brews at happy hour prices at the High Valley Shop bar.

Great trial.

Recommended Route:
Start at Monarch Pass - Monarch Crest to the Colorado Trail, to Silver Creek Trail to Rainbow to Hwy 285 north, take the single track at mile marker 124 on the left side of the highway, look for the posts about a hundred yards past the mile marker that mark the entrance to the trail on an old rail road bed.



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Review Date
August 3, 2009

Overall Rating
 5 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 5 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 3 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

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Reviewed by: samjolman ,  Weekend Warrior

Summary:
In a word, EPIC! This trail has everything. Scree fields, hard climbs, rocky down hill bombs, tree runs, high altitude meadows, amazing views, even a section in a mountain stream. It is very, very fun and not too technical. It requires being in shape more than being an expert biker. But be ready for a long, exhausting day. The absolute best part is the view from the upper part of the trail (the first 11 miles or so). You are right at tree line and can see forever. AMAZING!

Full suspension will save your butt and body. I did it on a hard tail and am no longer a hard tail purist. After miles of rock strewn trail, I now realize the value of full suspension. I also burned out my front Avid brake. That made the last half pretty scary.

Start early (before 10 AM) to avoid storms. Definitely buy the $12 map in the gift shop at the top of the pass (or a local bike shop). Very helpful map.

Recommended Route:
We opted to do the Rainbow trail, which has a lot of ups and downs in drainage wash outs. If I wasn't exhausted, it would have been a lot of fun. But after 20 miles, it was close to miserable because of all the extra climbs. You can take the silver creek two track and save yourself the pain.

We parked at the Poncha Springs visitor center (where 285 and 50 meet). If you can, go south on 285 a little more and park at the gas station on the East side of the street. We saw a lot of bikers there. It saves you a little extra effort.



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Review Date
July 9, 2007

Overall Rating
 5 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 4 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 3 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

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Reviewed by: wilcox510 ,  Cross Country Rider

Summary:
Best ride I've ever done. Overall not very technically challenging, just fast and fun. I was amazed at how good the singletrack was, considering all the use this trail gets. Even the double track was fun. The Rainbow Trail by itself would be a destination ride in most places, amazing up and down curvy singletrack in a pine forest. I didn't really think the climbing in the first several miles was very tough, I thought there were more difficult climbs just toward the end of the ride (obviously fatigue was part of that). If you are all about technical challenges and scaring yourself this may not be your ride, but if you like fast flowing singletrack (and lots of it) this ride is unbeatable.

Recommended Route:
Shuttle from Poncha Springs (unless you're way tougher than me), Monarch Crest to Rainbow Trail.



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Reviews 1 - 5 (44 Reviews Total) View All | Next 5
 


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