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Monarch Crest Trail

Monarch Crest Trail

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Monarch Crest Trail

Page Type: Trail

Location: Colorado, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 32.84000°N / 113.91°W

Trail Type: Cross Country

Technical Difficulty: Medium

Aerobic Difficulty: Hard

Layout: Point to Point

Length: 36.0 Mi / 58.0 Km

Route Quality: 
 - 3 Votes


Page By: Chris

Created/Edited: Oct 3, 2007 / Dec 15, 2012

Object ID: 261790

Hits: 9035 

Page Score: 80.46%  - 12 Votes 

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Top of Monarch Pass
Monarch Crest

The Monarch Crest Trail is one of Colorado's epic mountain bike rides. It's ranked one of the classic Epic Rides by IMBA and one of Bicycling Magazine's top-5 rides in the entire United States. The route covers over 35 miles of high alpine tundra, bombing descents through the forest, technical talus fields, and rolling singletrack. This one is a must-do!

Trail Description

Yeti 575 on Monarch Crest
Approaching the 12k mark

36 miles

Elevation Gain:
About 6000'

High alpine tundra, talus, forest, high desert.

Mostly singletrack, with some jeep roads and a small bit of highway at the very end.

Detailed Trail Description:
Coming Soon!

0.0 - Start (Monarch Pass parking area)
0.3 - Sign, bear right
1.0 - Intersection of CDT, turn right, follow CDT
1.5 - Right onto singletrack section of CDT

Getting There

Monarch Crest 2
Rainbow Trail

The route starts at the top of Monarch Pass, on US Hwy 50, just west of Salida, Colorado. This route is point-to-point, so a shuttle is required to ride it.

From Salida:
Drive west on Hwy 50 to Poncha Springs. Leave a car here. Shuttle the other car west on US Hwy 50 for 18.5 miles to the summit of Monarch Pass (11,312'). Park in the large parking area near the gift shop. The trail starts just west of the old tram structure, at the western end of the parking lot.

When to Bike

Monarch Crest 1
Frosty Labor Day!

The season for Monarch is very short. The snow has normally melted out enough to ride by mid-July. Weather conditions can be unpredictable, with snow any month of the year. Violent afternoon thunderstorms are common during the summer months. Be prepared for extreme weather: At a minimum, bring gloves, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, and raingear.


Frosty Labor Day!Approaching the 12k markRainbow TrailMonarch Crest 1Monarch CrestYeti 575 on Monarch CrestMonarch Crest 2
Top of Monarch Pass