Scenic USA - Colorado

Cottonwood Pass

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Cottonwood Pass - Buena Vista, Colorado

Photo by Paul Winters
Paul's High Country Aerie

   Heading west from Colorado's town of Buena Vista, CR 306 climbs through the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness Area and over the Continental Divide. A combination of county roads makes up this sightseer's haven from Buena Vista to Almont. A paved road from the east to Cottonwood Pass passes more than a dozen of Colorado 14ers, creating quite a scenic drive. The Collegiate Peaks, with half of the Ivy League schools represented, create a varied list of very popular climbs. Don't expect to have this place to yourself, as the emphasis is one the word popular. The 14 mile stretch, from Cottonwood Pass to Taylor Reservoir, a twisting dirt track, leads downhill via CR 209.
   Taylor Park Reservoir, Ptarmigan Lake, a roadside waterfall and the ghost town around the Gladstone Mine add some more areas of intrigue along this scenic route. Although the Cottonwood Pass Road is not one of Colorado's official scenic byways, the route offers dozens of grand viewpoints, such as this southerly view from 12,000 feet near the top the pass.

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