Agate Creek, Salida, CO
Monarch Crest, Monarch Crest, Monarch Crest, yada yada yada, blah blah blah. We all know the Crest, and most riders go right for the traditional route. Most of my riding companions in southern Colorado make it an annual pilgrimage to ride the Crest, always by the traditional route. I also love the Crest, but there are other, equally outstanding descents off the Crest than the usual Silver Creek route. One such alternative is Agate Creek, the only descent to drop off the west side of the crest. You still start with incredible above-treeline riding and finish with a rapid, massive loss of vertical, but Agate also throws a dozen or more creek crossings at you, some deep, and all nice and chilled.
One of the reasons for its relative lack of popularity is that commercial shuttle service doesn’t run the west side of the Crest, but many people forgo the commercial shuttle and arrange their own with their riding buddies, so why not do something different for a change? If you’re really ambitious, there’s nothing wrong with riding up Highway 50 and completing the loop without any kind of shuttle By taking the descent less traveled, not only will it provide a unique experience, but you’ll have the place to yourself rather than constantly leapfrogging all those other groups of Crest shuttle monkeys.