The Monarch Crest Trail is iconic Colorado mountain biking, and autumn is perhaps one of the best times of year to get it done.
photos by Terrance Siemon
Known for endless views and long sections of butter smooth singletrack, the Monarch Crest Trail is iconic Colorado mountain biking. The classic route takes riders from the top of 11,400-foot Monarch Pass outside of Salida, Colorado, and mixes dense pine forest and aspen groves with some of the state’s most exquisite high-country terrain.
The Monarch Crest, as it is known, is actually a combination of the Monarch Crest Trail, the Silver Creek Trail, the Colorado Trail, the Continental Divide Trail and the Rainbow Trail, and can be completed in a number of variations. The true 40-mile Crest Classic begins at Monarch Pass and drops 4,200 feet to the town of Salida.
The trail begins at the summit of Monarch Pass directly off of Colorado Route 50 and 20 or so miles west of Poncha Springs. If you’re shuttling, you can leave a car at the Poncha Springs Visitor Center at the junction of Colorado Route 50 and Colorado Route 285.
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