Monarch Crest Trail

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

Singletrack
↑ 2,600 ft
↓ 6,800 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 Guest July 31, 2004
Trail Features
Trail features
  • Lift Service
  • Drinking Water
  •   Night Riding
  • Pump Track
  • Restrooms
  • Winter Fat Biking
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Trail Q&A
Rider Questions
 
Recommended Trails
Recommended Trails
Buffalo Creek
Porcupine Rim
Trail 401
Local Info & Nearby Trails
Trail Check-ins
Trail Check-ins
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Recent Trail Check-ins     (33 total check-ins)
  msivertson   on Oct 10, 2015
  tawright12   on Oct 3, 2015
  Erik Proano   on Sep 30, 2015
  Adam Doherty   on Sep 13, 2015
  Guest   on Sep 13, 2015
Photo & Video Gallery (217)
Trail Photos & Videos (217)
 
Reviews (76)
 

Bunny Hop

January 17, 2016
 
Review: The Crest trail is one that should be on everyone's list. Not technical except for a couple of places. Where it gets you is in the elevation and sustained climbing. But man, what views. Epic. And once you start downward you'll have the time of your life. The descent is not too technical either really but depending on the route can go for many miles and gets steep and a little sketchy in a few places. It can be 75 and sunny but you could end up wading through hip deep snow up top ship take more clothing than you think you need.

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January 11, 2016
Guest   
 
Review: its awesome

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Gramcounter

September 18, 2015
tetontom Gramcounter  
 
Review: After wanting to ride this for a decade, it went beyond my expectations. If you do the Silver Cr / Rainbow version, be prepared for 5 hrs or more out on the trail, and a surprising amount of stiff climbing. I will have to say that the above tree-line portion of the ride was shorter than I thought it would be...

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September 13, 2015
Guest   
 
Review: This trail is epic. Just remember that is not all downhill. Bring food, water, and your climbing legs. It will challenge you in a number of ways.
Just know also that this trail is very much part of the Colorado trail and you should use those signs to help guide you.

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Doubletrack


September 8, 2015
 
Review: One of the best rides you can do. You get a sampling of a bunch of different terrain and ecosystems.

Amazing views. Great trails.

Remember that you are in the high country, so be prepared with a rain jacket at a bare minimum. Best to get started early in the day to avoid the frequent afternoon thunderstorms.

Similar Trail: Whole Enchilada

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Gramcounter


August 10, 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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Bunny Hop


August 2, 2015
J-Dogg Bunny Hop  
 
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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Monarch Crest Trail MTB Trail 4.93 out of 5 based on 76 ratings. 76 user reviews.
Trail Conditions
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