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One of the rowdiest Monarch Crest descents, down a rugged moto trail with endless stream crossings.


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Map Key

18.2

Miles

29.3

KM

95%

Singletrack

11,968' 3,648 m

High

8,926' 2,721 m

Low

1,465' 447 m

Up

3,629' 1,106 m

Down

5%

Avg Grade (3°)

23%

Max Grade (13°)

Dogs Off-leash

E-Bikes Allowed

Features Views

Usually snow covered until the 4th of July. Even then, you may have to cross several tall snow drifts on the top of the Divide, which can be sketchy. Begin your ride early to avoid being caught in afternoon thunderstorms.

Overview

The Agate Creek descent off the Monarch Crest is one of the lesser-ridden Crest descents (at least, by mountain bikes) since it drops off the west side of the Continental Divide. All of the commercial Crest shuttles drive up from the East side, meaning that you'll need to self-shuttle Agate Creek if you're interested in riding it. Despite flying somewhat under the radar, Agate Creek is an absolute ripper of a downhill! This moto-legal trail is rugged and technical, with a few rutted-out rock gardens, in particular, renowned as the most technical features in the greater Monarch Crest network.

Need to Know

The Agate Creek trail crosses the creek numerous times along the descents, and the final crossings are very deep. As a result, it's best to ride this trail in late fall when the stream levels are lower. This trail may be dangerous or impassable early in the summertime.

Description

Begin your ride by dropping your own pickup vehicle at the Agate Creek campground, just off Highway 50 above Sargents. There are some parking spots near the entrance where you can park your vehicle without blocking the few campsites. Alternatively, you can also park in the turnaround at the end of the short dead end road.

From there, drive up the mountain to the top of Monarch Pass and begin riding via the classic Monarch Crest Trail route. The trail quickly climbs to treeline, rolling up and down along some of the most beautiful singletrack in the nation!

The turn off to Agate is well-signed—it heads downhill to the right. The descent begins fast and furious down a straight rocky trail in an alpine meadow, before diving into the depths of the forest. The upper forested section is an absolute dream as you blast down steep, loamy moto trail for miles.

Soon the trail grade mellows out as it drops into the bottom of the Agate Creek valley to continue its descent. Once in the bottom of the valley, the trail begins to crisscross the creek, with each progressive creek crossing getting deeper and deeper. Some reports claim that there's a dozen creek crossings—either way, you'd better be prepared to get wet. Consequently, Agate Creek is best ridden in the early fall, when the stream levels are lower.

Several sections of trail in the lower valley are extremely technical, including one deeply rutted section of trail with a massive boulder move preceded and followed by big, bouldery rock gardens. This is easily the most technical feature on all the descents off of the Monarch Crest and could warrant a double black diamond rating. However, overall the entire trail is still a single black, with just this one section exceeding. Feel free to walk if you're not feeling up to it.

The ride finishes with a short, punchy climb to get out of the valley and back to the Agate Creek campground. It's a tough way to finish, but the ride is so rewarding that it will probably go straight onto your "best trails of all time" list.

Contacts

Shared By:

Greg Heil

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 1 vote

#8

in Monarch Pass

#1645

Overall
  5.0 from 1 vote
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Recommended Route Rankings

#8

in Monarch Pass

#298

in Colorado

#1,645

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

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