Monarch Crest Trail

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SHARES
  
AVERAGE RATING
*****
4.93 out of 5
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35
miles

Singletrack
↑ 2,100 ft
↓ 5,900 ft
11,298
elevation (ft)

Shuttle
Trail Description
About this trail
This is one of the premier shuttle rides in the state and with good reason. With over 30 miles of mostly singletrack trails and all of the best scenery Colorado has to offer, this trail is a must ride. As a shuttle ride you'll climb about 2,300 feet (much of it above 11,000 feet) and you'll descent about 6,000 feet total. The first part of the ride is above treeline and is not technical in any way. You'll top out at about 11,960 feet and then begin the first major descent down an old fire road to Marshall Pass (this is about the 10 mile mark). From here you can choose to descend down more fire road to the bottom or you can climb up the Rainbow Trail (recommended). Here you'll find some dense forest sections and some steeper climbs. Finally, head left onto the Silver Creek trail and follow this baby all the way down to a forest service road. The Silver Creek trail is pretty technical with some large scree fields, switchbacks, and some rough sections of trail. At the end of the singletrack you'll ride through a large streambed and out to the forest road. Go down a bit here until you see a sign for the Rainbow Trail. Here you can take the Rainbow Trail back to US 285 or stay on the road for a quicker descent. An awesome ride, do it if you get the chance but watch for thunderstorms and be prepared for a long day. Shuttle services are available, check the internet for more information. Trail is usually open (read: clear of snow) from July to August.
added by mudhunnySingletrack July 31, 2004
Trail Features
Trail features
  • Lift Service
  • Drinking Water
  •   Night Riding
  • Pump Track
  • Restrooms
  • Winter Fat Biking
Directions to Trailhead
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Trail Q&A
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System Trails (1)
System Trails (1)
Silver Creek
Local Info & Nearby Trails
Trail Check-ins
Trail Check-ins
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Recent Trail Check-ins     (25 total check-ins)
  Aaron Chamberlain   21 hours ago
  ye11ow   1 day ago
  Michael Paul   1 day ago
  Jeff Barber   1 day ago
  Greg Heil   1 day ago
Photo & Video Gallery (190)
Trail Photos & Videos (190)
 
Reviews (71)
 

Gramcounter


August 9, 2015
Lee Harris Gramcounter  
 
Review: The views don't get any better!
Watch the video
http://getsomeadventures.com/ride-the-divide-the-monarch-crest-trail/

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Gramcounter


August 5, 2015
skelldify Gramcounter  
 
Review: This is an amazing ride, one of the best backcountry rides I've ever done, right up there with the Whole Enchilada, but completely different! Be prepared for quite a bit of high-elevation climbing. We swore it was 50/50 climbing/descending, even though our GPSs indicated otherwise. The decents go by very quickly! A lot of the climbing is short bursts of uphill sprinting, so it's not totally unbearable. There aren't many real long slogs. The Silver Creek descent is sweet! Rainbow trail gets kind of annoying until you cross the road, then it gets good. Losing the last few hundred feet of elevation on the main road is a bummer for sure. Overall, there isn't a lot of technical terrain. A few of the downhills are rocky and rooty, but nothing scary, you just have to pick good lines. You definitely want to be acclimated and in shape for this ride or you'll get a beatdown!

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Granny Gear


August 1, 2015
J-Dogg Granny Gear  
 
Review: Truly epic. If you can suck in oxygen at 12K feet it doesn't disappoint. Rode it in July and still had to push through a couple snow patches. Not a downhill run even though it shuttles for $20. Buy the map with photos from the shuttle driver and don't skip Rainbow.

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Gramcounter


July 27, 2015
Lee Harris Gramcounter  
 
Review: One of the Best Trails I've ridden. My wife and I have an adventure travel blog and are riding the top 100.

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Gnarly


June 30, 2015
 
Review: MIND BLOWING!! Best ride I've ever done, and probably will ever do. It has some significant uphill, but it stays at a relatively low grade so you don't notice it that much. Plus the views from it's nearly 12,000 foot above the treeline summit are amazing! The Silver Creek's techy descent changes things up a little. Finally, you end with icing on the cake, The Rainbow Trail. This portion is by far some of the most flowy singletrack I've ever ridden, and I rode 18 road the day before.

Similar Trail: NOTHING like it,

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Trailblazer


June 27, 2015
 
Review: This is a fantastic trail. There's something special about riding on the continental divide; it feels like you're riding on top of the world. Of course, you get to follow this up with a raging descent that is a ton of fun. Make sure you bring plenty of food and water so you can take your sweet time and truly enjoy this trail. Still, make sure you get below the tree line before the afternoon thunderstorms. Also, don't forget to spend some time in Salida. It is a town of only 5000, but it has 3 awesome bike shops. I could definitely live there.

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Granny Gear

June 26, 2015
 
Review: This premier ride of my life - only got to do it once in the late 90's. Wow! 4 awesome hours of epic mountain biking!

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Poseur

March 26, 2015
 
Review: I was reluctant to do this trail because I was riding by myself and I didn't think it would be as fun. I made friends within the first hour of riding and we ended up riding the entire trail together. The views were incredible. Pictures do some justice but the experience is incomparable. There were several very technical parts but they were balanced out perfectly by easier trail. If you ride alone, it is easy to get very lost and put you on a 30-50 mile detour. Listen to the shuttle driver or tag along with some strangers. Everyone is there to have fun. My favorite trail in Colorado.

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Granny Gear

September 18, 2014
randoon Granny Gear  
 
Review: Rode the MCT with a friend for first time on Monday, Oct 15, 2014. Had a group of eight that shuttled to the top of the Crest for the start. Beautiful crisp fall day. Trail was breathtaking, literally and figuratively. The descent into Silver Creek was an adrenaline rush with rocks and drops. Rainbow at the end was a fun rolling 10 miles. Not overly technical but the last 15 minutes of Rainbow was probably the most demanding due to steepness and some drops. Just over 34 miles in five hours including stop for lunch. Gorgeous ride and well worth the effort for two guys in their sixties.

Similar Trail: As awesome as Porqupine Rim

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Gramcounter


August 28, 2014
gfabes Gramcounter  
 
Review: One of the best rides ever! Only downside is the travel time and unpredictable weather at that elevation.

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Monarch Crest Trail MTB Trail 4.93 out of 5 based on 71 ratings. 71 user reviews.
Trail Conditions
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