Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 29
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    24

    any monarch crest trail reviews?

    I am flying into Denver for 6 days of biking in Crested Butte. I was wondering if it was worth stopping on the way to CB to bike the Monarch Crest Trail or am I better off just maximizing my time riding around CB.

    As reference, I really love the whole enchilda in Moab and was looking for a similar epic ride in the CB area.

    My two main questions about the MCT are:
    1. is it mostly single track or is there alot of roads and double track as well
    2. how much uphill is there about 9000'. Coming from Vermont the night before, I won't have alot of my legs under me for biking uphill at super high elevation.

    Thanks!!

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    828
    1- Yes it is mostly singletrack. 2- Nearly the entire ride is above 10,000 feet and around 28 miles long depending on which route you take. You will start with a 900' climb in the first 2 miles starting at 11,000' once you gain that climb it is 7 miles of great trail with some climbing at 12,000' average. I think it would be a tough start to your trip but it is one of the best rides ever.

  3. #3
    cbw
    cbw is offline
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    87
    If you regularly do longer distances (30+) without feeling like death you should hit it up.

  4. #4
    Team Velveeta™
    Reputation: TomP's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    2,243

    Monarch Crest Beta

    Quote Originally Posted by teleken View Post
    1- Yes it is mostly singletrack. 2- Nearly the entire ride is above 10,000 feet and around 28 miles long depending on which route you take. You will start with a 900' climb in the first 2 miles starting at 11,000' once you gain that climb it is 7 miles of great trail with some climbing at 12,000' average. I think it would be a tough start to your trip but it is one of the best rides ever.
    It's actually 11300 at Monarch Pass and the highest point you hit is right at 12K. You make 12K and then traverse along at that elevation for about 5 miles, drop down to the top of Greens, it's again around 11300 at the shelter there. You climb back up to the mid-11s then drop down to 10900 at Marshall. Then it's back up to about 11300 between Marshall and the top of Silver Creek (assuming you go for the classic route).


    Classic Route Elevation Profile

    Bottom of Silver Creek is mid-9s and you pick up a surprising amount of cumulative climbing on the Rainbow Trail alone. But if you're feeling really shelled you can bail down the Silver Creek jeep road instead and won't have to climb anything other than trivial little rises all the way back down.

    My advice, be very hydrated when you start. Be careful if you're a coffee drinker to go easy on that, and drink water/electrolyte drink all the way up to the pass in the van (you'll want to use the shuttle from High Valley Center in Poncha Springs). The initial climb from Monarch up to the high ridge is going to be a punch in the gut. Give yourself whatever the body asks for in that first hour. Stop to catch your breath, climb as slowly as possible. The ride from Monarch to Marshall is awesome pretty, so take that as an excuse to stop lots.

    Get the early shuttle. Let me say that again: get the early shuttle. The first one rolls from Poncha at 8 am. Have a rain jacket and extra base layer with you. Rain pants if you have them. The monsoons are here. Yesterday looked really bada$$ up on the mountain, and we got .65" of rain and piles of hail right here in town in 25 minutes yesterday afternoon. You'll need that rain gear for CB too. But the crest is serious elevation and exposure for a long time. If you need to move slowly on that really high part because the thin air is gutting you, and yet you also need to keep moving because you're about to be killed by an electric storm you're going to be in what we call a quandary. Get the early shuttle
    Tom Purvis - Salida, CO - http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com

    "I like my wimmen like I like my beer--cold and bitter!"

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    20

    any monarch crest trail reviews?

    Monarch is one of the best rides I've ever done (maybe my second favorite ever, only behind the Whole Enchilada) -- absolutely perfect high alpine single track, incredible views, basically everything you think of when you think of riding in Colorado. If riding it is remotely feasible, ride it. Salida's a great little town for post-ride refreshments, too.

    Definitely get the early shuttle. And hydrate.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  6. #6
    Paste eater
    Reputation: Jwind's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    3,465
    It's a long day in the saddle. Not an atrocious amount of climbing for a Coloradan but it's not a little and as a front range resident, the climb over to Marshal feels way harder than it should.

    Pretty much all of it is ST. The silver creek DH is freaking epic. One of the best Down hills in the state. If you're cooked at the bottom, you can take the service road out from there. Rainbow if you still got something left. First couple times I rode it, I got caught in a hail storm on rainbow.

    Take the early shuttle Enjoy. Truly amazing ride.


  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    828
    An alternative to the entire ride is an out-&-back from the top of the pass. Ride out 7 or so miles to get some great scenic high country riding turn around and save some energy for your days in CB.

    The previous weather warnings are accurate keep an eye to the west for approaching storms if one is out there you can bet it will funnel right into Monarch Pass.

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    368
    I live in CB and I would say DO NOT SKIP Monarch Crest. Yes, there are a ton of great rides in CB, but nothing comes close to the experience you'll get on the crest. All the hype is warranted, stellar singletrack and an epic day of riding. Don't skip rainbow trail on the way out, you'll be a little tired, but you won't be able to wipe the **** eating grin off your face when you get done with it.

    like others have said start EARLY since you'll probably be stopping quite a bit to take photos and soak in the views in the alpine and you want ample time to get below treeline before any monsoon storms.

    As for comparable rides in CB, it's hard to come close to the amount of downhill/drop you get from Monarch as a shuttle. In CB you'll be climbing quite a bit on most rides and the rides are shorter, but you'll be able to link rides together to make them longer.

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    256
    Monarch is in my top three trails in the world!
    1. El Choro (Bolivia)
    2. Enchelada (Moab)
    3. Monarch (Salida)

    Be cautious, though-- it's like getting punched in the eye with a fist of beauty.

  10. #10
    I dream on two wheels
    Reputation: Simonns's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    719
    Is Monarch ready to ride? thinking of going up there this weekend.
    Whiskey

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    21
    I'm planning on heading up there for the 8am shuttle on 19th if anyone cares to join me. Plan to drive down from the Denver area the night before and sleep/camp nearby. If it doesn't kill me, camp on Saturday night and ride CB on Sunday morning.

  12. #12
    Team Velveeta™
    Reputation: TomP's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    2,243
    Quote Originally Posted by Simonns View Post
    Is Monarch ready to ride? thinking of going up there this weekend.
    Yes. People were riding it during the 4th of July weekend as tradition dictates. I heard about lots of BIG snowdrifts though. Some sliding down off the cornices to be expected. Be careful, and do not walk around the drifts. Walk over them.

    But yeah, it's totally passable.

    Monsoons are wound right up though. Bring your rain gear.
    Tom Purvis - Salida, CO - http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com

    "I like my wimmen like I like my beer--cold and bitter!"

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    24
    thanks for all the great tips everyone!!

    unfortunately, there is just no way we are going to be able to make the 8am shuttle so I guess we had better be prepared for some storms up there.

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation: BeanMan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    876
    Like Tom said (Emphasis added) GET THE EARLY SHUTTLE and bring your rain and survival gear. Lightning hitting 100 yards below you will get your attention. My Father always told me be off the summit by noon.

  15. #15
    Team Velveeta™
    Reputation: TomP's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    2,243
    Quote Originally Posted by petersterling View Post
    thanks for all the great tips everyone!!

    unfortunately, there is just no way we are going to be able to make the 8am shuttle so I guess we had better be prepared for some storms up there.
    Then I'd recommend doing it as an out-back like teleken suggests. Chances are, you'll get there to do your ride and it will be raining. Paying for the shuttle only to get there when it's raining is a waste.

    If you want to do the full meal deal, figure out a way to be in Poncha by 8. It's not just that there are some storms. It's fuggin' dangerous. People die from lightning strikes in CO when they are playing at high elevation every year.

    That is my advice, ignore it at your peril.
    Tom Purvis - Salida, CO - http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com

    "I like my wimmen like I like my beer--cold and bitter!"

  16. #16
    I dream on two wheels
    Reputation: Simonns's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    719
    Quote Originally Posted by TomP View Post
    Yes. People were riding it during the 4th of July weekend as tradition dictates. I heard about lots of BIG snowdrifts though. Some sliding down off the cornices to be expected. Be careful, and do not walk around the drifts. Walk over them.

    But yeah, it's totally passable.

    Monsoons are wound right up though. Bring your rain gear.
    Hey Tom, thanks for the info!
    Whiskey

  17. #17
    bacon! bacon! bacon!
    Reputation: SkaredShtles's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    10,640
    Quote Originally Posted by TomP View Post
    Be careful if you're a coffee drinker to go easy on that,
    Don't listen to this Old Codger and his anti-coffee nonsense.

    Coffee Myth-Busting: Cup Of Joe May Help Hydration And Memory : The Salt : NPR


  18. #18
    bacon! bacon! bacon!
    Reputation: SkaredShtles's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    10,640
    Oh - and do yourself a favor and ride Agate Creek down and hitch back up to your vehicle at the pass.

  19. #19
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    256
    If you drink a lot of coffee, just make sure you smoke a lot of weed to balance it out. It's a sure fire way to start your day! If you start to bonk up on the trail, just smoke more weed. Trust me, i've been doing this for years.

  20. #20
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    256
    Make sure to drink plenty of beer the night before, too. It ensures restful sleep!

    (But, seriously, Tom is right. Hydrating is a good idea....)

  21. #21
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    191
    Quote Originally Posted by TomP View Post
    It's actually 11300 at Monarch Pass and the highest point you hit is right at 12K. You make 12K and then traverse along at that elevation for about 5 miles, drop down to the top of Greens, it's again around 11300 at the shelter there. You climb back up to the mid-11s then drop down to 10900 at Marshall. Then it's back up to about 11300 between Marshall and the top of Silver Creek (assuming you go for the classic route).


    Classic Route Elevation Profile

    Bottom of Silver Creek is mid-9s and you pick up a surprising amount of cumulative climbing on the Rainbow Trail alone. But if you're feeling really shelled you can bail down the Silver Creek jeep road instead and won't have to climb anything other than trivial little rises all the way back down.

    My advice, be very hydrated when you start. Be careful if you're a coffee drinker to go easy on that, and drink water/electrolyte drink all the way up to the pass in the van (you'll want to use the shuttle from High Valley Center in Poncha Springs). The initial climb from Monarch up to the high ridge is going to be a punch in the gut. Give yourself whatever the body asks for in that first hour. Stop to catch your breath, climb as slowly as possible. The ride from Monarch to Marshall is awesome pretty, so take that as an excuse to stop lots.

    Get the early shuttle. Let me say that again: get the early shuttle. The first one rolls from Poncha at 8 am. Have a rain jacket and extra base layer with you. Rain pants if you have them. The monsoons are here. Yesterday looked really bada$$ up on the mountain, and we got .65" of rain and piles of hail right here in town in 25 minutes yesterday afternoon. You'll need that rain gear for CB too. But the crest is serious elevation and exposure for a long time. If you need to move slowly on that really high part because the thin air is gutting you, and yet you also need to keep moving because you're about to be killed by an electric storm you're going to be in what we call a quandary. Get the early shuttle
    TomP - you mention the Shuttle up to Monarch a bunch of times (I think!) I did a little poking around and are you referring to the High Valley Bike Shuttle? or is there another? just trying to line up all my ducks in a row before we actually arrive in CB early August.

    Thanks,
    D
    Somewhere lost in the Bush!

  22. #22
    Team Velveeta™
    Reputation: TomP's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    2,243
    Quote Originally Posted by osteo View Post
    ... are you referring to the High Valley Bike Shuttle? or is there another? just trying to line up all my ducks in a row before we actually arrive in CB early August...
    Correck. High Valley Center.

    Absolute Bikes does guiding, but if all you want is to be dropped off to find your own way, High Valley Center.

    8 AM.
    Tom Purvis - Salida, CO - http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com

    "I like my wimmen like I like my beer--cold and bitter!"

  23. #23
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    191
    8AM, High Valley Centre (er... Center) got it!! will check out Absolute Bikes, but we can read a map and are adventurous!
    D
    Somewhere lost in the Bush!

  24. #24
    Team Velveeta™
    Reputation: TomP's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    2,243
    Quote Originally Posted by osteo View Post
    8AM, High Valley Centre (er... Center) got it!! will check out Absolute Bikes, but we can read a map and are adventurous!
    D
    Absolute produced in-house and sells a map that's specifically designed to show you the Crest and all the children of the crest. I believe High Valley Center usually sells them too. Stop by Absolute and get one if you can, or call them to have them mail you one.

    I strongly urge you not to use the freebie map that comes in the local giveaway mountain bike guide. It has a couple mistakes that can lead you to a vast place of lostness and search & rescue.
    Tom Purvis - Salida, CO - http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com

    "I like my wimmen like I like my beer--cold and bitter!"

  25. #25
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    191
    Quote Originally Posted by TomP View Post
    Absolute produced in-house and sells a map that's specifically designed to show you the Crest and all the children of the crest. I believe High Valley Center usually sells them too. Stop by Absolute and get one if you can, or call them to have them mail you one.

    I strongly urge you not to use the freebie map that comes in the local giveaway mountain bike guide. It has a couple mistakes that can lead you to a vast place of lostness and search & rescue.
    Will do that today, I don't need to practice my navigation skills with the chance of lightening on the horizon (although I am the navigator on our AR team!).

    Thanks muchly

    D
    Somewhere lost in the Bush!

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Monarch Crest Trail
    By TomP in forum Colorado - Front Range
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 06-21-2013, 08:06 PM
  2. Monarch Crest trail report?
    By Gered Dunne in forum Colorado - Front Range
    Replies: 57
    Last Post: 02-10-2013, 08:54 AM
  3. Replies: 0
    Last Post: 02-02-2013, 02:02 PM
  4. Monarch Crest
    By chrisgardner73 in forum Colorado - Front Range
    Replies: 64
    Last Post: 10-09-2012, 12:25 PM
  5. Monarch Crest trail to Starvation Creek option ?
    By Jim Beam in forum Colorado - Western Slope
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 09-06-2012, 07:05 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •