Moncarch Crest Trail

Source: High Valley Bike Shuttle
Start: Salida, Colorado

Schedule a shuddle: Schedule a shuddle to get to the trailhead in order to ride the Monarch Crest Trail to the Rainbow trail and then back to town. We took The High Valley Bike Shuttle which is $20 per person

Distance: 35 miles from start of bus drop off back to the shuttle parking lot

Take plenty of water and snacks: It's a long trail! It's good to keep nurished

You start off climbing: Be prepared for a good initial uphill, then the trail flows from there

Level: Advanced/Intermediate. While the trail is not overly technical, it's a slog for sure

​After riding a dirt road the singletrack will kick off to the right. There is a sign-in box at this junction, feel free to sign in. This is a registry box for the Forest Service to monitor the use on the trail. After a short traverse you will come to another road with a power line over it. Go up and under the power line through an old burn area. Once the timber thickens you will see the trail off to the right marked with a sign. Once on the trail, it is unbroken until Marshall Pass. Don't descent Fooses Creek, Green's Creek or Agate Creek unless you intend to, each is clearly marked. Once at Marshall Pass you will see bathrooms and some signage. From here continue to the summit of the pass where you will see signage for Silver Creek and the CDT. Once back on the CDT you will pedal about a mile, and then descend about a mile to a dirt road. Pedal another mile to the trailhead of Silver Creek on the left. This is a good place to wait for your group because it is possible to continue along the CDT, missing your turn. If you do go too far you will see a red gate, which is the boundary for the Rio Grande National Forest… TURN AROUND!

Colorado Trail/ Fooses Creek
This is a great downhill ride for a moderately skilled rider. Fooses begins about five miles into the Crest ride. The first mile of this descent is very steep and rocky; so ride it if you can. Fooses Creek is the shortest option and ends on Highway 50 west of Maysville. A road ride is required to get back to Poncha Springs.

Green's Creek
Green's Creek is seven miles from the Monarch Pass parking lot and is more of a downhill specific ride. Green's ends in Maysville on the frontage road and requires a road ride back to Poncha Springs.

Agate Creek
This is also a fantastic ride but ends on the West side of Monarch Pass in Sargents. A shuttle may be required to go back to Monarch Pass. Agate Creek trail begins after the climb out of Green's Greek.

Silver Creek
This is the most common ride and also makes for the longest ride. At the bottom of this seven mile descent you will have the option of continuing along the Rainbow Trail or bailing out on Silver Creek Road 201. If you decide to do the Rainbow Trail, be sure to have plenty of water and snacks. This section can wear you out after riding the Crest because of some "sprint climbs" out of drainages.
The Monarch Crest can be considered an extreme cross-country ride, do not be fooled because it is a shuttled ride. Be prepared with snacks, plenty of water, along with all the tools needed to do self-service along the trail. Also be prepared for afternoon thunderstorms.

There are many variations of this ride. The "crest" is considered to be from the drop-off at Monarch Pass to Marshall Pass. This is eleven miles at or above 11,000 ft. The first few miles are the most consistent climbing of the whole ride, so don't get discouraged. There are some forks in the trail you need to be aware of.