Cottonwood Pass     Mt. Princeton

My Bike Ride To Cottonwood Pass - September 15, 2008

Cottonwood Pass, CO Turner Peak Yay! I biked to Cottonwood Pass yesterday afternoon on the paved (eastern) side of the divide. This was my second ride to the top. My first ride can be seen here.

Because my time was limited and I had already done this entire ride beginning at the Buena Vista traffic light (19.7 mile distance) in 2006, I opted to drive to the Denny Creek Trailhead and begin riding at the 10% grade at the closing gate. I figured this is where the ride really becomes exciting and grueling anyway! ;)

Friend, if you enjoy cycling high mountain passes, then you really ought to consider riding up Cottonwood Pass. It is considered one of the most difficult and steepest rides you can find ... even for Colorado standards! Yes, over the years I have done other nearby passes such as Monarch Pass, Poncha Pass and Trout Creek Pass, but most do not compare. Only Independence Pass, with its insanely grueling five miles of steep uphill and switchbacks is in the same league as Cottonwood Pass.

Anyway, below are my photos and do enjoy the YouTube video clip on the bottom! :)


Cottonwood Pass Road

Cottonwood Pass Road

Beginning the ride. The grade is 10% for approximately one mile west of the closing gate at the Denny Creek Trailhead.

BOTTOM PHOTO: The view of Jones Mountain South.

Turner Peak, CO Continuing up the switchbacks with Turner Peak in view.
A sign that has been really beat-up!
Cottonwood Pass, CO Above timberline. Notice the red shade of the foliage in many areas. Cottonwood Pass is the lowest point on the ridge.
Cottonwood Pass

Cottonwood Pass, CO

Cottonwood Pass, CO

Arrival at Cottonwood Pass! I was so happy to be there! :)

It was a rough 7.4 miles to the top and a thrilling and speedy descent on the way down!

I included two photos of the views to the west (middle) and east (bottom).

Cottonwood Pass, CO Snow Here is quite a contrast in photos. The left photo was today's view, and the right photo was the same general view from three days ago. You can see more photos from that snowy morning here: Mountain Snowfall.
1964 Cadillac Special thanks to my 1964 Cadillac for transporting my bike in its huge trunk! :)

Cottonwood Pass Video Clip

Some footage of me riding along Chaffee County Road 306 ("Cottonwood Pass Road") with views of the mountains and myself at the top.

These pictures were submitted by Steve Garufi in Buena Vista, Colorado. His web site is


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