Monarch Crest Trail

4.94 out of 5
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↑ 2,600 ft
↓ 6,800 ft
elevation (ft)

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
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
Rider Questions


Q: Current conditions -Guest

No answers yet.




Q: Can you rent bikes -Guest

A: Yes... Absolute Bikes

Guest answered on June 23, 2016. Did you find this helpful? Yes | No


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Local Info & Nearby Trails
Trail Check-ins
Trail Check-ins
what's this?
Recent Trail Check-ins     (46 total check-ins)
  mike_d_1583   on Oct 2, 2016
  Adam Millsap   on Sep 30, 2016
  Timothy Hosbach   on Sep 20, 2016
  Erik Proano   on Sep 3, 2016
  slade   on Aug 5, 2016
Photo & Video Gallery (269)
Trail Photos & Videos (269)
Reviews (80)

Bunny Hop

October 12, 2016
Review: One of the all time classics! Its just has some of the best high altitude riding you will ever do. Riding above treeline to screaming flowing descents. What more could you ask for!

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August 28, 2016
jkey6 Gnarly  
Review: Don't be fooled by the specs of this ride. It feels a lot tougher than 2,000 ft of climbing on other trails. I do a ton of riding on the front range on trails with more vert but I was definitely feeling it in this one. Great views, nice flowy singletrack, and awesome dirt. Highly recommended but be prepared! Know which trails you are supposed to take ahead of time because "monarch crest" is not a label you will see anywhere.

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Granny Gear

July 2, 2016
thechez Granny Gear  
Review: Definitely allow yourself to acclimate to the surrounding area before hitting this one! An arduous long climb brings you to some amazing views of all the surrounding area and bevy of fourteeners that surround this spot. Hardcore locals might just ride up Monarch Pass to the trailhead but most shuttle. It's got a little technicality to it but nothing for your enduro bike. Once you're up top there's a myriad of trails for your choosing. You really have a menu of trails to choose your own adventure back down to town.
The trail climbs through several variances in the biome of the area and allows for challenge in your climbing skills. Once up top you're back in the traditional dry Colorado forest. No doubt you'll come across some of the local bikers training on their preferred routes. Don't forget to link up with the Rainbow trail for some swoopy fun action on the way down! Finish up with a beer at Subculture and enjoy the town.

Similar Trail: Ape Canyon/Plains of Abraham

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June 23, 2016
Review: There's a great log cabin lodge above White Pine to stay at called Tomichi's part way up the Canyon Creek Trail climb. It's a great spot to crash for a night or two or three... if you're going to bike the area for a few days. It has running water, hot showers, full kitchen, lots of beds. Definitely a rad spot to enjoy in the summer/fall. Great backcountry skiing too... check it out... we'd love to host your crew!

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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
Review: its awesome

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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
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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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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August 10, 2015
Lee Harris Gramcounter  
Review: The views don't get any better!
Watch the video

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Monarch Crest Trail MTB Trail 4.94 out of 5 based on 80 ratings. 80 user reviews.
Trail Conditions
Trail Conditions          < / > embed
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