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Monarch Crest to Agate Creek Loop

Difficult
 4.0 (6) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A long dirt road climb to access the classic Monarch Crest Trail and a great technical descent.


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Map Key

36.6

Miles

59.0

KM

50%

Singletrack

11,962' 3,646 m

High

8,573' 2,613 m

Low

4,432' 1,351 m

Up

4,417' 1,346 m

Down

5%

Avg Grade (3°)

23%

Max Grade (13°)

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Unknown

Features -none-

Overview

A great way to ride the Monarch Crest Trail without a shuttle and tack on an amazing and challenging descent. The most technical descent option from the Monarch Crest Trail.

Need to Know

Lots of creek crossings! May be unrideable during times of high runoff.

Description

Park at the Agate Creek Trailhead on the south side of HWY 50. There are two places that the Agate Creek Trail #484 intersects the highway. Park at the second one (farthest west).

Ride downhill on HWY 50 for about two miles and turn right on road 888 (this road is mostly paved until you start up old Monarch Pass).

Enjoy the scenery and views of Tomichi Pass as you pedal up the dirt road for about five miles.

Turn right on Old Monarch Pass Road and settle in for a consistently steep but smooth eight mile dirt road climb. Summit the pass and drop down to HWY 50. Turn right and climb the pavement for 0.5 miles.

At Monarch Pass, climb past the gondola and onto the Monarch Crest Trail. Ride the Crest past the wooden shelter at the top of Green's Creek. After the trail opens up in a meadow with spectacular views, watch for a sign for Agate Creek.

This is where the fun really starts! Turn right and drop into Agate Creek Trail #484. This descent is more technical than the more standard descents off of the Crest. Agate is a popular motorcycle ride and is fast, loose, and rocky at the top.

It then becomes more forested and has lots of fast, fall line descending that is strewn with roots, that will have you grinning from ear to ear.

Lower down, the trail crosses Agate Creek for the first of maybe 12 crossings, with each subsequent crossing getting deeper. Further down, the creek may be difficult to cross in spring runoff. There are several technical rock gardens in the woods towards the lower sections of the trail that most riders will find challenging.

Make a left turn at a sign for the Agate Creek Spur Trail to continue the descent to the lower parking lot. After a final creek crossing, climb a short, loose climb back to the trailhead.

History & Background

Cool cabin on the trail with a name plate and the year 1951. Anyone have any info on this?

Contacts

Shared By:

Zach Allen

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 6 votes

#6

in Monarch Pass

#2038

Overall
  4.0 from 6 votes
5 Star
33%
4 Star
50%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
17%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#6

in Monarch Pass

#287

in Colorado

#2,038

Overall
209 Views Last Month
6,414 Since Jul 24, 2016
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Photos

Monarch Crest
Sep 7, 2016 near Whitepine, CO
Somewhere on the Monarch Crest Trail
Jul 13, 2015 near Salida, CO
Beautiful summer morning on the 'crest
Aug 10, 2016 near Salida, CO
Riding above treeline. Probably the highest I have ever ridden my bike. Lung busting altitude.
Oct 12, 2016 near Whitepine, CO
There's snow in them hills!
Sep 25, 2017 near Whitepine, CO
Late October on the Monarch Crest.
Nov 1, 2016 near Whitepine, CO

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
Minor Issues 9 days ago See History
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

Sep 23, 2019
Aaron Croft
Creek is still running fairly high and fast in sections. 36.7mi
Aug 10, 2019
Rio Salsero
Jul 30, 2018
Gina Robertson
Super fun downhill, have to cross over a bunch of creek beds but it is worth it! it was a little smoky up at the top with lower visibility. very fun!
Sep 3, 2017
Betsy Williford
24.4mi
Aug 19, 2017
Noel Peck
Oct 17, 2016
Kristian Keane
Oct 1, 2016
Brad Luth
Sep 11, 2016
Aaron D