Hiking, Biking, Camping & Off-Road Fun!
There are many day-hiking and backpacking opportunities in and around the area. The most notable are the Continental Divide Trail (CDT), the Colorado Trail (CT) and the Collegiate Loop Trail, which all join for sections and travel right by Monarch Mountain at the Crest at the top of Monarch Pass, making it a great pit-stop to refuel, recharge and resupply.
While popular with backpackers, day-hikers can get a sample of these trails by doing shorter lengths.
The CDT is approximately 3,100 miles long and runs north/south through the Rocky Mountains from Canada to Mexico. 740 miles of the trail are in Colorado.
The CT is 567 miles long, traveling north-east to south-west Colorado from Denver to Durango, or vice-versa depending on where you start.
The Collegiate Loop trail is 153.3 miles long, running in a general north/south direction, looping in and around the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness.
The southernmost point of the loop is at the top of Monarch Pass at Monarch Mountain at the Crest.
In addition to these notorious trails, there is an abundance of trail options in and around the area.
Mountain biking is a very popular sport in Colorado and this is particularly true in Monarch country. There is nearly 1,000 miles of mountain bike trails in and around the towns of Salida and Gunnison (763 miles around Salida and 227 miles around Gunnison). And then there’s the internationally recognized mountain bike trail, the Monarch Crest trail, which begins at the parking lot of Monarch Mountain at the Crest and follows a portion of the CDT.
If planning to ride the Monarch Crest Trail, don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s all downhill. It is considered a very tough intermediate level trail with 2,000 vertical feet of climbing involved along the way. In this elevation, you might try a less grueling trail to prepare.
You’ll see a lot of campers, RVs and people with their camping gear on their backs on and along the roads as they make their way to or from that perfect site. It’s kind of a summer thing around here, and there’s no wondering why. Here are some links to help you find what’s available.
Who doesn’t like a cozy campsite fire when relaxing under the stars? That’s one of the reasons we camp, right? Just, please, be responsible and check for area fire restrictions before you light up.
Monarch Mountain at the Crest is an equal opportunity provider and operates under a special use permit with the Pike San Isabel National forest.
24500 US50, Salida CO, 81201