Sleep In The Dirt

Section 5:

Lujan Creek (CO 114) to Monarch Pass (CO 50)

What We Found

The content below contains general information about Big Agnes staff experience while traveling along the CDT through Colorado in the summer of 2018. While we have made an effort to provide you with a valuable trip-planning tool, we cannot offer any assurance that this information is current, complete or even accurate – if you choose to travel this route, do so at your own risk. Northern San Juans. Lots of long open ridge riding with beautiful views. Follows the Colorado Trail the whole time, so should be well marked and good tread. Could be a low-mileage overnight bikepacking trip or one epic day ride. This trail has a lot of vertical, so plan for long rocky climbs and hike-a-bike sections if bikepacking. It follows the Colorado Trail the entire way and is marked well and easy to follow.

  • distance
    46 miles
  • elevation gain
    8,867 feet
  • elevation loss
    7,233 feet
  • highest point
    11,974 feet
  • wilderness area
    yes
  • percent on trail
    100%

"We toured the trail during the first part of July in 2018. We found there to be ample water along the way including a large lake on day one that was not only a beautiful water source but seemed to be home to some good fishing as well and there are beautiful campsites around the lake. In order to access the lakes goods we had to travel about ½ off the trail in each direction and bringing bikes down would not have been ideal. We chose to leave ours at the trail sign and we were thankful we did. The best part of section five is it finishing on the beautiful Monarch Crest trail. Because we were traveling North, we rode opposite of typical bike travel along the crest but unanimously decided the crest trail favors northbound travelers.  There is a fresh spring along the way that allows users to fill up enough to get them to the general store at the top of the crest where hot-dogs, ice cream, candy, coffee and soda await." On Trail: July 5th-9th, 2018.

Kellie Nelson, Dealer Services Rep, Big Agnes

Our Itinerary

Southern Access Point:

Hwy. 114 (Lujan Creek Area) Ley Maps CO 31

Northern Access Point:

Monarch Pass (CO Hwy 50) Ley Maps CO 27

Wilderness Area:
Yes

What We Experienced: 

Northern San Juans. Lots of long open ridge riding with beautiful views. Follows the Colorado Trail the whole time, so should be well marked and good tread. Could be a low-mileage overnight bikepacking trip or one epic day ride. This trail has a lot of vertical, so plan for long rocky climbs and hike-a-bike sections if bikepacking. It follows the Colorado Trail the entire way and is marked well and easy to follow.

Additional Resources: 

Leave No Trace Principles

Guthook Guide – Continental Divide Trail

U.S. Forest Service – Rio Grande National Forest

U.S. Forest Service – Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests

 

Our Route

Ascent:
8,867 feet

Descent:
7,233 feet

Grade per Mile:
354 feet

Pro tips:

There’s a good amount of on-trail water sources, but check an app like Guthook to check availability in the warmer summer months.

Be prepared for rocky climbs and hiking your bike (if bikepacking) through some sections.

Good rain gear and warm clothes are a must, and bring extra fuel if cooking more than twice a day due to the higher elevation.

 

Skills We Needed

• Rock Scrambling
• Lightning Safety
• Hike-a-bike (if bikepacking)
• LNT Ethics

* This site and routes described within contain general information about Big Agnes staff adventures in the backcountry, summer 2018. While we have made an effort to provide you with a valuable trip-planning tool, we cannot offer any assurance that this information is current, complete or even accurate – if you choose to travel these routes, do so at your own risk. Prior to setting out check local weather, trail conditions, closures, legal access points, Forest Service, BLM, or National Park rules and regulations, and other risks involved. We hope to inspire responsible backcountry and public land use, but by using our website you agree to use this information at your own risk.