Continental Divide Trail At Cottonwood Pass, CO

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Cottonwood Pass, CO
July 28, 2010 - My friend Luis Saldana has been on his annual vacation in Vail and wanted to meet me. Fortunately I was able to lure him to drive to Buena Vista, and we agreed on hiking a short but scenic portion of the Continental Divide Trail.

This hike is a great choice for beginners or those seeking a relatively easy hike above timberline. The trailhead is at Cottonwood Pass, 19 miles west of Buena Vista, and the well-marked trail leads to Point ~12,600 (it doesn't have a name). Although I don't know the exact distance, it is likely less than one mile each way.

Continental Divide Trail
Hiking upward. I actually snapped this picture after I had come down and the lighting was better.
Colorado Rocky Mountains
The grand view of Ice Mountain and the "Three Apostles" with Gunnison County Road 209 in the foreground. Travel on that road west of Cottonwood Pass to reach Taylor Park Reservoir and to other roads leading to Tincup, Crested Butte and Taylor River Road.
Colorado Mountain Scenery
From the trail, one can see the parking lot of Cottonwood Pass (far left). Also 14er Mt. Yale (left of center) and Turner Peak (right) standing prominently among those mountains.
Luis and Steve
Luis and I at the summit. :)
Mountain Scenery
Facing south. The Continental Divide runs along the ridge. Also 13ers Jones Mountain (left) and Emma Burr Mountain (center) are in view.
Mt. Princeton, CO
Facing west toward Mt. Princeton.
Taylor Park Reservoir
A nice view of Taylor Park Reservoir to the west.
Colorado Rocky Mountains
Again, this was a nice and short hike with beautiful Colorado mountain scenery. Start early if you want to avoid the crowds! The photo above was taken as we were descending on Chaffee County Road 306 (east of Cottonwood Pass and toward Buena Vista).

Photos and commentary by Steve Garufi in Buena Vista, Colorado. Facebook: /coloradoguycom Twitter: @SteveGarufi

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