Gordon, there are shuttles rides available in town for about $30 per rider. We used an outfit in Poncha Springs on Hwy 285. Don’t have their number, but the town is a spot on the map outside Salida. You can’t miss them. You will need to stop by the day before and get on the list for the following morning. Do the 8AM shuttle so y’all can be back below treeline before the afternoon thunderstorms set in. Be sure to stop by Amicas Pizza in Salida!
If you get time, go to Leadville and ride the old Colorado Midland RR to Hagerman Tunnel. It’s a cool ride.
Was just out there about 3 weeks ago. They will drop you off at Monarch Pass (no uses permit needed, it’s on a public highway). From there you ride the Crest and run a few miles of hardtop (downhill) on your way back to the shuttle lot. Definitely don’t recommend trying to ride up, especially if you aren’t acclimated.
To clarify, we rode from Monarch to Marshall pass, took the old jeep trail (RR bed) down to the highway and then back to shuttle parking. No Fooses Creek.
“…only way to do Monarch Crest now is to self shuttle.”
Park at the bottom of FC and ride/walk up the dirt road to the Crest, over and down. Quite do-able for any lowlander with a shred of fitness. Don’t fear the doghouse. She’ll live and you’ll both enjoy the views on the way up.