Monarch Crest Trail – Colorado’s Classic Ride

Known as one of the Top Ten Mountain Bike Rides in America, the Monarch Crest Trail is definitely one of the best rides you will ever do.  The ride starts on top of Monarch Pass at a lofty 11,312 feet and quickly climbs to the Continental Divide.  The singletrack follows the Divide for 10 miles above treeline through rock gardens and fields of wildflowers, climbs steep hills and drops back into thick pine forests.

Mountain Biking the Continental Divide.

It’s pure singletrack and so fun.  On clear days, you can see all the way from Pikes Peak to the San Juan Mountains – the entire width of the Colorado Rockies.

After riding the Monarch Crest Trail, you have a choice of either riding down the challenging Silver Creek singletrack or choosing an easier route down the smooth dirt road of Marshall Pass.

Silver Creek is a fantastic, fun and rough skinny trail with some rocky challenges.  Marshall Pass is non-technical, an old Otto Mears railroad route that lets a mountain biker look up and enjoy the amazing Colorado Rocky Mountain scenery all around.


You must have your mountain bike ready to load on the shuttle on arrival – no last minute repairs or bike checks.

On Sunday, Sept. 17, if you have preregistered, plan to arrive at Absolute Bikes (330 W. Sackett Ave) between 7:45 a.m. – 8 a.m. If you need to register, plan to arrive by 7:30 a.m. Shuttles will leave at 8:30 a.m. sharp from Absolute Bikes.

We will load our bikes into the shuttle buses and drive to the summit of Monarch Pass for an early start.  Here we will start the faster riders and guides first and the slower riders second.

Faster riders can complete the ride in 3-4 hours.  Slower riders will need 5 hours.  The ride will officially end at the Shirley Site trailhead where shuttle buses will drive us back to Historic Downtown Salida for a great party in Riverside Park.

(Riders may choose to continue past Shirley Site and ride back to Salida, but this is where the Monarch Crest Crank officially ends, so you are on your own and not covered by event insurance past this point.  The ride from Shirley Site to Salida is an additional 13 miles.)


Distance: Approximately 25 High Altitude Miles
Aerobic Level: Strenuous
Technical Difficulty: Advanced – side slopes, rocky and loose
High Point: 11,989 Feet Above Sea Level

You will never forget this ride – it’s one of the trails of a lifetime!