Cottonwood Pass is a high mountain route over the Continental Divide. It’s an easy drive beginning in either Buena Vista or Almont. From Buena Vista the road quickly climbs to its summit of 12,126 feet. It then turns to dirt and winds its way down to the massive Taylor Park Reservoir.
Cottonwood Pass is closed on the western side to Almont until expected late summer 2018. You can still drive up Buena Vista side and enjoy the views!
Scenic Fall Colors on Cottonwood Pass
The colors are remarkable on this high mountain pass, peaking around 500 feet above tree line. From the top, you’re afforded 360 degree views of two distinct water sheds.
Recreation on Cottonwood Pass
Camping, fishing and off-highway-vehicles are all common around the lake. ATV and boat rentals are both available. There is one campground on the Buena Vista side and many on the Almont side. Dispersed camping is easy to spot on both sides.
There are several other routes over the Divide for the return trip, including the rugged 4×4 Tin Cup Pass. It leads directly to Saint Elmo, a ghost town on the other side. Another seasonal highway, Kebler Pass, is a great fall drive from Crested Butte to Paonia.