Cottonwood Pass - Mt. Princeton
Snow On Cottonwood Pass Road - May 2, 2009

Cottonwood Pass Is Closed As Of Today; One Nice Snowy Colorado Photo Below By Steve Garufi

Snow on Chaffee County Road 306
Cottonwood Pass Road

May 2, 2009 - Today the forecast called for a chance of snowfall in Chaffee County. For the most part, it rained on and off in the Arkansas River Valley, but it appeared to be snowing at altitudes above 12,000 feet.

Excited and hopeful that maybe... just maybe I would see some beautiful snowfall, I drove west on Chaffee County Road 306 ("Cottonwood Pass Road") and went as far as I could before snow disallowed me to continue. I traveled approximately two miles west of the gate at the Denny Creek Trailhead until I reached the point above. Such a pretty snow photo, isn't it? :)

A few words about matters of when and how Cottonwood Pass traditionally opens. On an average year, Cottonwood Pass usually opens on the Thursday or Friday before Memorial Day weekend. Last year (2008), because of the large amounts of snow we received throughout the winter and spring, the pass did not open until June 12. (See those pictures here: 2008 Opening Day). Because our mountains had a comparatively mild snow season, it is possible the pass could be opening sooner than the immediate days preceding Memorial Day weekend. We shall see. Of course, I will do my best to keep you posted on its status on this web site! :)

"Why not plow the road? There can't be *that much* snow up there!" I hear this all the time and I asked it frequently myself when I first moved to good ol' Buena Vista. Here's the answer: Yes, clearing the road of snow and ice would be easy at this point, but the larger concern is avalanches. (Ditto for Independence Pass.) Above timberline, large amounts of unstable snow among road switchbacks mean a higher risk of snow sliding onto the road. At best, an avalanche could completely block vehicular traffic. At worst, a nasty one could swipe and bury a few cars, potentially taking someone's life.

In the meantime, before new Cottonwood Pass content is created, below are a few photo galleries that might help you get your Colorado fix! :)

Photo Galleries: Sangre De Cristo Mountains, St. Elmo Ghost Town, 1953 Cadillac, April Snow Photos, Elk in Buena Vista, CO,

All the best,
Steve Garufi

Contact: Buena Vista, CO Forum - Fan Page - Steve's Twitter Page

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