Hot Spot - Monarch Crest Trail, CO

The Monarch Crest Trail in the Gunnison & San Isabel National Forests is experiencing severe impacts from outdoor activities. As one of the 2018 Leave No Trace Hot Spots, this protected area will receive a site-specific blend of targeted training, expert consulting, education programs, and service projects to help this threatened area on its road to recovery. 

The Monarch Crest Trail spans part of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (CDNST) from Monarch Pass to Marshall Pass in the Pike and San Isabel National Forest in south-central Colorado. Though the majority of the Continental Divide trail is aimed mostly at hikers and equestrian user groups, this section of the CDNST is also open to mountain bikes and motorcycles. The trail has become incredibly popular with this diverse group of trail users. Overcrowding and lack of education on how to interact with other types of recreationists have caused user conflicts and the overall recreation experience to be diminished for everyone. Additionally, this high elevation trail can hold large snow drifts late into July, many of which are difficult to cross causing visitors to have to travel off trail, around the snow drift, and onto fragile vegetation. This along with high usage has caused trail erosion and damage to fragile alpine vegetation. 

The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics is teaming up with US Forest Service staff and local mountain bike guides to execute a week of targeted training, education programs and service work with agency staff, key stakeholders and members of the local community. The overall goals of these efforts are the long-term improvement of resource conditions, increased awareness of impacts in the forest, elevated Leave No Trace programs within agency management plans and increased use of Leave No Trace skills and ethics by the visiting public. This week of action based events is just one step in helping the Monarch Crest Trail on its road to recovery. 

Friday, August 10th 
Trails Celebration
Time: 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm 
Where: SoulCraft Bewery
Additional Details: Come join the Leave No Trace team to celebrate Salida's designation as a Gateway Community for the Continental Divide Trail and the 50th Anniversary of the National Trails system. 
Saturday, August 11th 
Leave No Trace on the Monarch Crest Trail
Time: 9:00 am - 1:00 pm 
Where: Top of Monarch Pass (HWY 50)
Additional Information: If you are out enjoying the Monarch Crest trail keep your eye out for the Leave No Trace team. They will be talking with hikers, bikers, and equestrians about the importance of practicing Leave No Trace skills and ethics while enjoying the trail.