Day 21 - Salida - Monarch Crest Ride

Monarch Crest trail epic singletrack mountain bike trail (Salida, Colorado)

 
 
 
 
 

I got up early and headed over to Poncha springs to catch the shuttle. The shuttle guy remembered me from the last time I had done the shuttle, when he had dropped of us off at the pass when it was snowing.

Apparently me and clare had made the cover of the free magazine they give out in the area back in 2005.

(If anyone has a copy I'd love to get hold of one, drop me an email if you do)

Poncha springs Shuttle - Click to Enlarge Poncha springs Shuttle - Click to Enlarge Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge
 
Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge

There were four other riders in the shuttle, two were from out of state from Wisconsin I think and the other two were from Denver.

It was quite cool at the pass, I headed off as the others were shown the route, and signed in at the trail head.

Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge

Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge

Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge

Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge
Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge Even after all the riding I'd done on this holiday I could really feel the altitude. We stayed together loosely as a group , as I kept on stopping to take photos. Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge
Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge
Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge The views were great as we broke above the tree line, and the singletrack continued to climb, with the occasional section of downhill. The Monarch crest trail is not a downhill only trail, there's plenty of climbing. Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge
Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge
Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge

Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Play

Video (4MB)

Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge
Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge The highest point on the trail is 12,145 ft, after climbing above the tree line, you ride the singletrack through the alpine tundra Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge
Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge
Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge After about 6.5 miles we dropped back down into the trees, and passed the turning for Green Creek Trail. Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge
Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge
Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge

Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Play

Video (13MB)

Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge The trail then climbed back up into the tundra, this hill really had me puffing as I rode to the top of it. As you can hear in the video. Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge
Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge
Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge

Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Play

Video (11MB)

At around 8.5 miles we crossed a couple of talus fields, as I waited for the other to catch up I managed to get some pictures of the Pikas which live among the rocks. Then there was a great fast down hill section of singletrack, before a fast double track descent with great little jumps , down to Marshall Pass at 10,846 ft.

Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Play

Video (7MB)

Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge
Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge From Marshall pass we continued along the Colorado trail, with a couple of stiff climbs to contend with. Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge
Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge
Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge
Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge We stopped at a point where you can see the Mount Ouray, Chipeta and Pahlone peak, and eat some food before carrying on along the trail. Monarch Crest Trail, Epic Singletrack ,High Alpine Mountain bike ride - Click to Enlarge
I missed the turn off for Silver Creek and continued along the very rock Colorado trail for about a mile, before I realized no one was behind me, so I turned back and went down the the trail and caught up with the other riders. Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge
Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge
Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge After a fast steep downhill section with rocky switchbacks, the trail descended through a sloping meadow. Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge
Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge

Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge

The trail then started to head down along a river valley, working its way through aspen trees.

Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Play

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Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge
Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge
Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge

Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Play

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Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge
Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge There were some excellent sections of trail which traversed some scree fields , off to our right there were loads of beaver ponds, and you could see where the beavers had been chewing away at the trees. Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge
Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge

Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Play

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Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge
Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge At the Silver Creek trail head the two chaps from out of state headed off down the dirt road, But me and the guys from Denver continued along the Silver Creek trail. Down at this level it was warm enough to switch to wearing shorts and shirts. Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge
Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge
Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge The silver creek trail is a hoot, lots of ups and downs in and out of hillside gullies, although it mainly goes downwards. There's quite a few steam crossing - so its a good idea to have some lube with you, other wise your chain will be squeaking something rotten by the time you finish the ride. Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge
Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge
Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge
Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge Some of the uphill sections were very steep, and towards the end of the ride my legs were getting quite tired, until I remembered to eat some food. Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge
Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge
Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge
Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge The trail occasional went though meadows, giving great views, after one last climb we topped out at the final meadow, before 3 miles of fast rocky descending to the high way. Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge

Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Play

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Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge
Silver Creek trail, Monarch Crest, Salida Mountain Bike ride - Click to Enlarge Once down at the highway it was a 5 mile coast back to the cars. Even after all the rides I'd done on this Holiday this was still my overall favorite trail - I've not yet found a trail I like more 8-) Click to Enlarge
Riding back to Poncho Springs on Highway - Click Riding back to Poncho Springs on Highway - Click Riding back to Poncho Springs on Highway - Click
Packing bike at super 8 Motel Salida - Click to Enlarge I said goodbye to the two guys from Denver, and then headed into town I went to Absolute bikes in Salida, and managed to buy a Giro E2 helmet in their sale at 1/2 the price it would be in England. I also bumped into the guys from Denver at the store as well. I then headed back to the Hotel and packed up my bike, then went and had dinner at Fiesta Mexicans again.

DAY 22