Monarch Crest Trail Colorado – IMBA Epic

On our week long trip to Colorado we wanted to find the EPIC mountain bike trails!


I highly suggest two avenues of finding the best mountain trails when traveling. Stop into the local bike shop and/or download the APP MTB Project  The local bike shop is key for the fact they can tell you which trails are open, closed, or under construction. You can also tell them your ride capability and they will send you to the correct trails. For example: I don’t have a full face helmet and knee pads… yet! Also remember, even the most technical lower Michigan trails are intermediate or novice Colorado trails.

Absolute Bikes were over the top informative for us in Salida Colorado. The staff talked to us in length about trails and what we were looking to ride. They had table maps out and would spend as much time as you would like talking over it. Bad part of Absolute Bikes they didn’t have the bikes in we wanted to rent. Keep in mind this was busy August and the day before we wanted to rent them. They didn’t even mind saying check Sub-Culture Cyclery for your sizes. So we walked down a couple blocks and talked to them. They had the 150MM bikes we were looking for in our sizes. You might be asking, “Mark, you have many bikes, why are you renting bikes?” Another tip for those looking to try mountain biking out of state, rent bikes designed for the beefier terrain. It turns a good ride into a GREAT ride on the correct equipment. Our Michigander hard tails are not designed for rocks, drops, roots at 20 mph on the downhill sections. So we had the bikes rented for tomorrow and Absolute Bikes told us to ride Monarch Crest trail. IMBA (International Mountain Bike Associations) rates the Monarch Crest Trail as their EPIC category! World class mountain trail!

Now we just need to figure out getting there. For this particular ride there are shuttles available. For $20-30 each they drive you up in a van to the trail start at 12,000 ft of elevation.

12,000 ft plus is above the treeline, so it was cool to be biking above where trees grow. (See in video below)

The first 7-10 miles of the ride had a good amount of climb to do, but the last 20 plus miles were all downhill! I am bummed that the Gopro ran out of battery before some of the coolest downhill sections I have ever ridden. I will post others videos of the sections so you get an idea.

This video is ours before battery died

Others video of the fun downhill sections

This ride was amazing! There were times where you didn’t need to pedal for what felt like 10 minutes. How often you used the brakes was up to you. I definitely got my moneys worth on the full suspension bike. I was hammering over things I wouldn’t have on the bikes we are used to riding. The dropper post came in real handy as well. Look it up if you unsure the perks of a dropper post.

The ride ended with a few miles of 30-40 MPH pavement downhill back to our vehicle! I got to try all the tuck position you see in the Tour De France! They do make a difference in your speed going down!

The scenery, workout, adrenaline, sweat, fear, unforeseen, laughs, friends, and accomplishment made this Adventure one I will never forget! Until next adventure… Cheers, Mark Deering