Day 8 - Monarch Crest Trail & Hartman Rocks - Mountain bike rides (CO)



After having some breakfast in Gunnison I drove over to Poncha Springs and caught the Monarch Crest Shuttle which cost $20 . I caught the 10:00am shuttle up to the Monarch Pass there were a lot of people doing the shuttle they had 3 shuttles running up to the pass.
It was a lot warmer than the day before and I set off along the same route as the previous day at about 10:40am.
There were a lot more people out on the trail than the previous day. In places it was a bit frustrating when you got stuck behind a group of slower riders and you knew the trail rode a lot better when ridden faster.
I didn't stop to do many tripod shots on the first part of the ride , as I didn't want to get over taken by other riders I'd just passed, and I was enjoying riding at a steady pace along the trail. The ladies in some of my photos were from Crested Butte, and I met them a couple of times along the way as we passed each other along the trail.
Once past Marshal Pass the riders on the trail had thinned out quite a bit, I think a fair few people were skipping riding the Silver Creek section of the trail - which was daft of them because this is one of the best bits of the trail.
While setting up my tripod to take photos along this section of the silver creek trail (The most scenic part of the ride) the women from crested butte passed, and we swapped cameras to take a few photos.
This is one of my favourite spots to take pictures on the Silver Creek trail when the Aspens are starting to turn the colours are great.
The Beavers has been busy along the lower part of the Silver creek trail after it cross's the creek, they had diverted the creek over the old jeep trail, so you had to pedal down the creek.
From The Silver Creek trail I joined the Rainbow Trail which climbed up and down many drainage's along the valley. The trail went through mixed pine, Aspen and grassy meadows.

I came to highway 285 after riding 30.9 miles, and then headed down the highway to Poncha Springs. I got back to the car park at about 15:40. I max'd out at 48.9 mph down the road. The total mileage when I was back at my SUV were 35.71 miles.

According to my GPS track in Topo I'd climbed 2895 ft and descended 6713ft.

The ride had been very good again if not a bit busy but that was to be expected on a Sunny Saturday. If you have a choice when to ride the trail don't do it on a weekend , as I did rush through sections of the trail to avoid getting stuck behind slower groups of riders, so did miss out a bit on taking in the great views.

In fact If I had a choice I'd do the trail mid week in October with snow falling at Monarch Pass - That way you'll be guarenteed to have the trail to yourself , like me and wife did on a previous trip to colorado


Monarch Crest Trail Map

Monarch Crest Trail Profile

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Monarch Crest Video (Flash Player)

Rather than go into Salida and do some shopping like I had originally planned I decided to drive straight back to Gunnison and get another ride in at Hartman Rock's. In Gunnison I stopped to get gas and food and had a bad cramp in my leg as I got out of the car, after stretching and drinking a lot it got better.
I decided to do a ride starting by going up Bambi's trail, the Bambi's trail is neat as it goes up a rocky valley, and up some slick rock sections.
I played around a bit on the Bambi trail and took a few pictures using my tripod , taking advantage of the low sun.
From Bambi's I headed off along the Saw tooth trail which was very enjoyable with some great rocky sections.
The signs at Hartman Rocks is much better than when I last visited , most of the trails have signs like these at their start and ends.
As the sun was going down fairly rapidly and I didn't have a light with me I decided to head back along Back In back to Bambi's, riding the opposite direction to what I had done when I rode it with Tom earlier in the week. It rode nicely in this direction as well.

The ride back down Bambi's was great nice and fast , and as it was quite late I didn't have to slow down for any one coming up the trail.

My ride at Hartman's rocks had been short but sweet, the low sun had made for amazing colours of the rocks. I only rode about 4.5 miles.

So In total today I had ridden 40.26 miles

After packing up I drove back to Gunnison , there were quite a few deer around, crossing the road so I had drive quite slowly along the road.

Hartman Rocks Map

Hartman Rocks Profile

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Hartman Rock's Video (Flash Player)

Back at Tom & Courtney's I had some very tasty curry made by Courtney before getting some well needed sleep.  

Click here for Day 9