Cottonwood Pass

Scenic Drive in Buena Vista

Ever wonder what it's like to drive to the moon? Wind your way past the Collegiate Peaks Campground to Cottonwood Pass (12,126ft) – this is the Continental Divide and the border between the San Isabel National Forest on the eastern slope and the Gunnison National Forest to the west.

On the eastern side of the road as you head uphill is a turnoff to the Avalanche Trailhead, which is a spur of the Colorado Trail, with access to the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness. Further uphill you’ll come to Denny Creek Trail, then Ptamargian Lake trailhead. The drive to the pass goes from moderately sinuous to downright jagged as you approach the edge of the timberline, and to the east the Collegiate Peaks spread out against the big blue sky. Just a 30-minute drive up County Rd 306 (head west on Main St and keep going), it’s spectacular country and a great place for a picnic or hike.