Canyon Creek Megacalorie
ElevationAscent: 4,203' 1,281 m
Descent: -4,344' -1,324 m
High: 12,555' 3,827 m
Low: 9,249' 2,819 m
GradeAvg Grade: 6% (4°)
Max Grade: 36% (20°)
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Monarch Crest to Agate Creek Loop
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“If the normal Canyon Creek Trail loop isn't hard enough, this point-to-point option is for you.”— Matt Giaraffa
Electric Mountain Bikes Allowed
The Canyon Creek Trail descent features 3000' of singletrack descending, all in one big shot. While the typical route is a loop starting from the Snowblind campground, this route features climbing Tomichi Pass (CO 888) up to the Canyon Creek Trail singletrack hike-a-bike.
This ride is a way to increase your suffering as a point-to-point from the small town of Alpine, CO up to the ghost mining town of St. Elmo, up to another ghost mining town, Hancock, over Hancock Pass, over Tomichi Pass, and then linking up to the Canyon Creek Trail.
This ride is harder than the mileage and climbing suggest, since all of the steep climbs are over 11,000', so make sure you can do the normal Tomichi Pass (Co Rd 888) to Canyon Creek Loop first, and you'll feel like you can do even more high elevation climbing yet.
Need to Know
From St. Elmo to Hancock, this railroad grade, dirt road climb is pretty mild, but when you start heading up Hancock Pass, the ride turn onto Forest Road #299, which is a steeper, rougher 4X4 road, and that's when you're done with anything easy.
Hancock Pass is pretty much a wind tunnel, so be prepared for cold wind blasts. From the top of the pass, descend the other side on Forest Road #839 and make sure to turn left at the bottom onto Tomichi Pass Road ( Forest Road #888).
That's another 4x4 road with epic views, passing some old mines. Once at the top of Tomichi, descend towards the Canyon Creek Trail and look out for the singletrack on the right not far down. Take the singletrack and prepare for the pain. My GPS device was claiming a 58% grade hike-a-bike at around 12,000' going up Granite Mountain.
Once at the top, look back towards the two passes you just crossed, and brace for some epic descending. After dropping 3000', there's one more kick to the pants with a 300' climb at the very end just in case you had any energy left. The ride ends at the Snowblind campground.