Scenic Buena Vista

A Walk & Scramble Near Cottonwood Pass

(My Photos From a Late Afternoon Visit To The High Country - August 16, 2009)

Colorado Rocky Mountains It was late Sunday afternoon - one of those times when I knew I needed to get out of the house and go into the mountains. Somewhere, anywhere in the mountains. Our warm season is extremely short in central Colorado and sometimes an "internal clock" awakens ... no screams at me to get off my a@@ and take advantage of this special time. Thus, I traveled toward Cottonwood Pass unaware of my destination. All I knew was this web site was due for an update and my digital camera was with me.

At Cottonwood Pass (alt. 12,126 feet) on the Continental Divide, one might notice on the east (Chaffee County) side of the pass two old wagon trails that reach the pass. (See the top picture in the photo gallery for a view of one of them.) Although some mining existed, this canyon leading from Buena Vista to Cottonwood Pass wasn't a particularly busy one for activity by settlers compared to others. In fact, the only mining camp and/or village I am aware of was Harvard City, a small cluster of homes near the junction of Chaffee County Road 306 and 344 near the turnoff for Cottonwood Lake. On this afternoon, I decided to walk on one of the wagon trails and wander wherever Providence led me.

Enjoy the photos below. In case you are not aware, you can view more photos and hikes at Cottonwood Pass at my web site dedicated to it: www.CottonwoodPass.net.

All the best,
Steve

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Cottonwood Pass, CO August 16, 2009 - Approaching Cottonwood Pass from Chaffee County Road 306, notice the horizontal line going across the ridge. That was very likely some kind of old traveling route to the pass.
Colorado

Colorado

So off I went walking on the old trail and with the late afternoon sun to the west, I had perfect lighting for views of the mountains to the east.
LEFT: The old trail with what appears to be wheel ruts for a wagon.

RIGHT: Near the trail is a hole with large rocks. This probably is an abandoned mine.

Cottonwood Pass, CO Just look at that view!

By the way, last Sunday I hiked to the summit of Jones Mountain (13,221 feet) - the mountain farthest to the right. :)

Colorado Rocky Mountains

Mt. Yale, CO

Two photos of the view to the northeast.

TOP: Looking out toward Mt. Yale (left) and Turner Peak (right).

BOTTOM: A closer view of Mt. Yale.

Colorado Rocky Mountains

Colorado

Two photos looking east. Now I realize the presence of a paved road probably takes away from the dreaminess of a mountain view, but I also like it because it provides perspective, especially for those of well acquainted with the area. ;)

In each photo, Mt. Princeton can be seen to the left. One of these photos will probably make it on my Mt. Princeton daily photo web site!

Rocky Hill I walked and wandered along the old wagon trail and then turned west. I had to reach the divide and grunted up this rocky hill. It was relatively short, but let's say I got a workout in!
Colorado Rocky Mountains It was an intense ascent but before I knew it, I was standing along the Continental Divide. Now look at this nice shot of a rocky ridge, Mt. Yale and Cottonwood Pass Road. :)
Continental Divide Looking south, I noticed a large patch of snow. Once my eyes laid upon it, I knew I had to visit it and bask in its glory!
Snow Snow

Snow

Snow in August!

Yes... you read that correctly. Beautiful, wonderful Colorado snow in August. All you folks in Texas and Florida are so jealous, aren't ya? :p)

By the way, where I stood the snow was at about 1-2 feet deep. That's a lot of snow! :)

Autumn is definitely in the air at 12,000+ feet right now. Some of the small plants and grasses are changing colors already.
Colorado Rocky Mountains A pretty view of the Three Apostles and its surrounding mountains.

My other pages in and around Cottonwood Pass:

  • Cottonwood Pass Sunset
  • Hike To Ptarmigan Lake
  • Hike To Lost Lake
  • Hike To Mt. Kreutzer
  • Autumn Foliage (2008)
  • Autumn Foliage (2002)
  • 2009 Cottonwood Pass Opening
  • 2008 Cottonwood Pass Opening
  • Bike Ride To Cottonwood Pass
  • Cottonwood Pass, CO Of course, I had to include a token photo of the Cottonwood Pass sign. :)

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    Driving On The Way Back

    Nice mountain scenery as I descended down the canyon back toward Buena Vista.

    Chaffee County Road 306
    I spotted elk on the side of the road! Elk

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