I am looking for information about riding the Monarch Crest Trail beginning at Monarch Pass and ending in Sargents, Co. on the western side of the Continental Divide. I have ridden the “classic” Monarch Crest many times, following the Colorado Trail thru Marshall Pass, then descending the Rainbow Trail thru the Silver Creek drainage. I have also done variations on the theme, descending South Fooses Creek to the east and Agate Creek to the west. All of these rides are well documented in the book “Salida Singletrack” by Nathan Ward. This summer I would like to continue west on the Colorado Trail over Marshall Mesa, perhaps using Tank Seven Creek, Milk Creek, Long Branch Creek or Hicks Creek to descend to US Hwy 50 on the western side of Monarch Pass. Can anyone provide solid advice (distance, gain/loss figures, trail conditions, technical challenges, etc.) on the various route options? Thanks in advance for your input!
Thanks for the map recommendation. I will certainly add this map to my collection. As a matter of fact, I will be riding in Crested Butte over the 4th of July holiday, and will stop by Alpineer to pick up a copy.
The CDT/CT southwest of Marshall is more challenging terrain than the Monarch Crest. If you make that section of trail an afternoon run, say after completing the Crest, watch the clouds, it sucks to get caught in the rain up there with how the motor bikes tear up the track so bad when its wet. Also, there are some pretty steep rocky sections after you pass the Silver Creek turnoff, but I think it gets easier the closer you get to Cochetopa. I took Tank-7 on a very rainy day and the trail was washed out and faint. I wouldn't recommend it for mountain biking, but thats just my take.
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