Friday, October 2, 2020

Cottonwood Lake and Pass

Cottonwood Lake

Ventured up to Cottonwood Lake to see the fall colors and then up to the pass to take in the views. Cottonwood Lake is located outside of Buena Vista, CO and is a popular destination for camping, kayaking and fishing. The road leading into the lake was actually the best part of the trip with vibrant aspen trees putting on their annual autumn show. This small lake is at elevation 9,400 feet and surrounded by mountains. Definitely worth the stop if you are in Buena Vista or headed up to the pass. 

View from Cottonwood Pass looking east.

The winding and steep road to Cottonwood Pass was recently closed for two years for repaving and other improvements. It reopened in October 2019, offering tourists spectacular 360 degree views. The road is the third-highest paved road in the state and the highest paved crossing of the Continental Divide in the United States. At 12,119 feet at the divide, Cottonwood Pass Road is often closed during winter months beginning in October or November, and usually opening back up in May.

View from Cottonwood Pass looking west.

Directions: From Buena Vista, turn west on Main Street and continue for 6.5 miles.  The road is also known as County Road 306 (known locally as Cottonwood Pass Road). Turn left onto County Road 344 for 3.4 miles (gravel road).  To get to the pass, return to CR 306 and turn left (west) and drive 12.3 miles.

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